Josh Ziskin

josh_in_kitchenOwner/executive chef 
Josh Ziskin has earned a well-deserved reputation in Greater Boston for his authentic Northern Italian cuisine, which he’s served for over eleven years at Ristorante La Morra in Brookline. Josh, and his wife Jen, spent a year in the Piedmont region of Italy where Josh cooked at the highly regarded Ristorante Belvedere, and together they studied the food and wine of Northern Italy. When they returned to Boston in 2003, they opened Ristorante La Morra, naming it after the picturesque hilltop town where they had lived in Barolo country. It quickly became a local favorite, and a destination for lovers of authentic Italian cuisine.

Before branching out on his own, Josh worked as Chef de Cuisine at The Tuscan Grill in Waltham. Josh is a long-time resident of Brookline, where his family owned a frame store for more than 30 years just blocks away from La Morra’s present location. In the spring of 2015, the Ziskins expanded their reach and culinary repertoire, opening the Heritage of Sherborn where the focus is on farm fresh local ingredients and the rich, satisfying flavors of New England. The historic location boasts a casual gastro-pub, an elegant dining room, as well as a provisions shop.

Jennifer Ziskin

jen_pouringOwner/Executive DIrector 
Jennifer is the Executive Director and co-owner of La Morra with her husband. Jennifer hand-selects La Morra’s wine list and is constantly revising it with wines from small producers throughout Italy. Jen was initiated into the restaurant business when she was fifteen years old and is familiar with all aspects of the industry from bussing tables, serving food, bartending, marketing, and managing the front of the house. She has worked at many of Boston’s fine restaurants such as Maison Robert, Chez Henri, Eight Holyoke and Aigo Bistro. Jen recently received a certification as an Italian Wine Specialist from the North American Sommelier Association.

 

Stephanie Szabo

StephGeneral Manager
Stephanie is the General Manager at La Morra. Stephanie has her hands in all aspects of the restaurant with a focus on service. She treats La Morra as if it was her own, knowing our guests by name. Stephanie started in this business at a young age and continued on to culinary school at Johnson and Wales University graduating with a Bachelors degree in Food Service Management with her associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. She has worked for Blackstone Caterers in Newport RI, opened a Hilton Hotel in San Francisco and ran a 300 seat restaurant called Rosa Mexicano in Washington DC. Stephanie was here at La Morra for three years as the General Manager and left us for a change of scenery but is now back with us again.

Emily Vena

Emily-VenaChef de Cuisine

Emily joined the La Morra family in 2007 when she moved from her hometown in New Jersey. Emily received her bachelor’s degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2004 and then went on to study regional Italian cuisine in Italy. She completed a program in La Marche and then worked in restaurants in Puglia and Piemonte. Emily lived and worked for a butcher in the town of Bra, about 14 km from La Morra. When Emily moved to Boston, she was excited to find a restaurant with the same name as that beautiful town so close to Bra. She has been living and working in Brookline ever since.

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Bernie Keaveney

Beverage & Wine Director
Bernie was raised on a farm in rural western Ireland. She has always possessed an affinity for wonderful food and believes in the farm-to-table approach. Bernie pursued other careers before realizing that the restaurant industry had the pulse she desired. La Morra was where Bernie eventually found her footing. Bernie recently received her ‘Italian Wine Specialist’ qualification from the North American Sommelier Association. Bernie and Jen carefully select wines from Italian producers who hold similar values and believe in meeting the wine makers and their families to really appreciate their passion.