Ruth GresserChef and Founder
Owner and chef Ruth Gresser learned her craft at her mother’s side, cooking for her large family and her mother’s catering company. Gresser cooked her way through college before entering the professional food scene in San Francisco at the early stages of the modern American food movement. In 1987, after graduating summa cum laude from Madeleine Kamman’s Classical and Modern French Cooking School, and cooking professionally in French, American, and Italian restaurants across the country, she moved to Washington, DC.
In 1991, Gresser turned her attention to pizza, opening Pizzeria Paradiso to critical acclaim, earning praise from local and national critics including a spot on Washingtonian magazine’s Very Best Restaurants List, Washington Post dining guide, and one of Zagat’s best restaurants nationwide. Now considered the matriarch of pizza in the District, Gresser has been instrumental in the opening of five popular Washington restaurants including three locations of Pizzeria Paradiso, Birreria Paradiso, which she helped build into one of the area’s most highly regarded craft beer programs, and Obelisk. In February 2014, Gresser released her first cookbook, “Kitchen Workshop-Pizza: Hands-on Cooking Lessons for Making Amazing Pizza at Home.” Gresser's first fast casual concept, Veloce closed after three years.
Gresser is active in the Washington, DC culinary and arts communities; she holds the position of incoming President of the Board of Directors of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, is a member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, an active member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, and supports various arts organizations, most especially Art Works Now and The Theater Lab. She has earned a number of media accolades, including profiles in The Washington Post Magazine and The Washington Business Journal.