It’s no secret that Italy produces some of the world’s most masterful chefs – and Chef Raffaele Dall’Erta is one of them. The Milan native has been solidly positioned at the helm of Hampton’s in Sumter since 2010. Patrons come from across the state to indulge in gourmet dishes made with local ingredients and prepared with European expertise.
Chef Dall’Erta’s philosophy is simple and sincere: He wants guests to have a beautiful dining experience. Fresh steaks and seafood star in many of his finest dishes, served with pride in the understated elegance of Hampton’s dining room. “I want to create good food that makes people happy,” he said. No other commentary needed.
It was a 5-year-old Dall’Erta who discovered he had a natural joy for cooking, thanks to time spent in the kitchen with his father and grandparents. Under their guidance, he learned how to forage for fresh ingredients and make homemade pasta. By the time he was 15, he was an aspiring chef ready to take the first steps on his career path. He sought professional training at Vallesana culinary school in Northern Lombardy and honed his skills through apprenticeships at lauded Italian restaurants. Armed with expertise, he landed positions at Don Lisander and La Rondine, then after a year of military duty moved on to the UK’s The Fat Duck and New York’s Per Se. He did a gig in Baltimore, and though brief, it turned out to be one of his most significant undertakings. That’s where he met his wife, Molly. The next stop was Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, where he settled in for the next decade before seeking new opportunities in Sumter at Hampton’s in late 2010. He has been expressing his culinary passions there ever since and enjoys a long-standing reputation for excellence.