Craig Richards


With an old-world, ingredient-driven approach, Chef Craig Richards displays the Italian trademarks that have always stood the test of time, but with versatile and local Southern ingredients. Richards’ simplicity met with sophistication catapulted the position of St. Cecilia in Atlanta’s dining scene since opening in January 2014. Since his time joining the restaurant, St. Cecilia has been lauded by Food & Wine, Zagat, Southern Living, Forbes, Atlanta Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as named one of the top restaurants in Atlanta several times by The Atlantan.

Richards’ food is rooted in tradition, with a sense of place: “I appreciate that Italians are so fervent about their culinary traditions – borderline prideful of it,” he says. “So once you know those traditions, you can make a riff off of it. You have leeway to modernize but pay respect to the ingredients.” Under his leadership, St. Cecilia was named Jezebel Magazine’s “#2 Best Restaurant in Atlanta” 2014, The Atlantan’s “Top 5 Most Exciting Restaurants of the Year” 2014; and one of Zagat’s "25 Most Anticipated Openings of 2014."

Richards launched his humble culinary beginnings as line cook at Pachamama’s Restaurant in Kansas, cooking new American market cuisine and honing his skills. Trips to Europe began soon after, and multiple travels to Italy, driving across the country, working in kitchens, and sourcing products turned an initial knack into a true understanding of the nation’s culinary currency.

Richards trained for five years under renowned Italian chefs Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, and then made his Atlanta debut in 2005 at La Tavola in Virginia-Highlands. After La Tavola, Richards worked at Midtown’s Ecco, expanding into Spanish, French and North African food. At Ecco, Richards had the opportunity to execute an event alongside renowned winemaker Marco Parusso, which received a standing ovation from the winemaker.

When not at the helm of the kitchen at St Cecilia, Richard most looks forward to spending time with his sweet daughter Lyla at his home on the Westside in Atlanta.