From the very beginning, Johanne Killeen and George Germon have made culinary history, receiving nearly every honor, award, and public recognition for their original, innovative cuisine. Johanne and George are chefs/owners of Al Forno Restaurant, which opened in Providence in January 1980. Al Forno, which literally means “from the oven,” was inspired by the opulence and style of Northern Italy’s fine cuisine, which makes extensive use of wood-burning ovens or open-flame grills.
Killeen and Germon became enamored of Italian cuisine when they lived and traveled throughout Italy. Johanne worked in a tiny restaurant outside of Florence, and George taught for Rhode Island School of Design’s European Honors Program in Rome at Palazzo Cenci. The couple’s training in the fine arts, Killeen as a photographer and Germon as a sculptor and architect, is reflected in the sense of design displayed in the restaurant’s interior as well as in the creative presentation of their dishes.
As Johanne explains: “For us, our restaurant, Al Forno, is simply an art project that keeps evolving. The kitchen is our studio, and the food we cook is like a canvas that is continually being repainted, changed, and refined. Food is eaten the way art is perceived; it is digested and recorded. Given the right circumstances, a connection is made and communication takes place, which is what art is all about.”