About Us

Chef Gerardo

Gerardo Moceri, a native of Michigan with Sicilian roots, began his culinary career after accepting an apprenticeship under world famous chef, Angelo Paracucchi in Sarzana, Italy. Gerardo continued cooking in Europe, apprenticing in Zurich, Switzerland, Paris, France, and Lucca, Italy. After Europe, Gerardo found himself opening "Porotfino", an Italian restaurant at the Westin Camino Real Resort in Ixtapa, Mexico, where he met his wife Maria.


In 1990, Chef Moceri accepted an invitation for grand opening Hyatt Regency in Kauai, Hawaii, helping develop a restaurant that was like no other in the state, fusing traditional Hawaiian flavors with contemporary Italian cuisine. In 1992 Gerardo married Maria and started his family with the birth of his daughter Natalie Rose in 1995 and Gerardo Francesco in 1997. 


In December of 2000, Gerardo and Maria opened Cucina Paradiso in Payson, Arizona. The restaurant was later renamed Gerardo's Firewood Cafe and was a staple in the community for 18 years. Gerardo was awarded the Restaurant Neighbor Award by the National Restaurant Association in 2002 for feeding firefighters and the community during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, which at the time was the worst forest fire in Arizona's recorded history. In 2015, Gerardo's Shrimp Scampi and Cioppino recipes were featured in Arizona Highways, "Arizona's Best Recipes" cookbook. We are grateful the moments Payson's community shared with us and are excited to grow with the communities of Sedona and the Verde Valley.


Natalie is a registered nurse working at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Gerardo Jr. is a recent grad from Arizona State University with a degree in Sustainability.