I Love Italian Food Cultural Association was founded to promote and protect the authentic Italian food and wine culture in the world.
The project was born from the passion for the typical products and cuisine of our country, a daily love story, identifying, changing and evolving from generation to generation.
Together with the passion, there is also the awareness and the will to enhance and put at the center of the scene the first actors of our food and wine abroad: the professionals of the restaurant industry, who every day contribute to promote and protect everything that is 100% Italian.
To this aim, I Love Italian Food nominates the Honorary Members of its Cultural Association, a figure provided for in Article 4, paragraph “m” of the Statute, which states: “The Board of Directors has the faculty to nominate “Honorary Members”, illustrious personalities in the field of catering and in the field of food and wine or who have distinguished themselves for the promotion of Made in Italy.“
The requirements for the nomination as an Honorary Member are as follows:
person who works in the field of catering and/or in the F&B field.
person who has distinguished himself/herself for the promotion of the authentic Italian food and wine culture abroad.
person who has supported and contributed to the initiatives of I Love Italian Food for the promotion of Made in Italy.
Daniele Reponi is a bit of a cold cut maker, a bit of an innkeeper. The starting point of his professional adventure dates back to about twenty years ago. During the course of his career he has worked in various restaurants in the province of Modena and has had the good fortune to meet people who have passed on to him the love for good cuisine and in particular for the quality of raw materials, as well as the importance of conviviality and hospitality. And it is his passion for novels that has given life to what has become his specialty: the narrated panino. Each panino is created and seasoned with the story of the products, the producers and the stories behind them.
Diego Meraviglia was born and raised in Northern Piemonte, on the border with Switzerland and France, specifically on the shores of lake Maggiore. He has lived and travelled across a great portion of the world including Dubai, Japan, Europe and North America. Surrounded by wine since birth, his professional studies began in 2003 when he attended the 3-Level certified Sommelier school in Milano with the Italian Sommelier Association. Furthering his studies and training, he moved on to obtain the ‘Master Taster’ qualification in early 2006 before relocating to Los Angeles (CA) that same year. He is one of the writers of the AIS course-book ‘Food & Wine’, utilized throughout the world in Sommelier course and has written a total of 4 published books and numerous press articles throughout his career. In 2008, he obtained the 4th level ‘Gold pin’ certification with the AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommeliers) & WSA (Worldwide Sommelier Association) and began his training as course teacher, public speaker and educator. Between 2008 and 2011, Diego Meraviglia became Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators in the United States, as well as the certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers amongst other certifications. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious international prize ‘AIS – Villa Sandi’, given to only 15 Sommeliers worldwide for “innovation in the profession of Sommelier”. In 2013 at the Worldwide Sommelier Association ‘Best Sommelier in the world’ competition, which took place in London (England), Diego Meraviglia ranked 5th. The competition involved 21 countries and 26 semi-finalists.
He is currently the President and one of the founders of the North American Sommelier Association and has worked in numerous restaurants & hotels between Italy, Dubai and Los Angeles both as ‘Beverage Director’ and as consultant. He has also been an international freelance educator, public speaker and events coordinator between Europe, the United States, Canada and China and has been featured extensively in the beverage industry & general press.
Shigeru Hayashi lived in Italy for 13 years and has been doing business with Italy for 38 years. After returning to Japan, he was in charge of importing Italian food products into his country. During his second time in Italy as head of the Italian representative office of Suntory Ltd., he focused on wine and food products and became involved in the trade of these products between Italy and Japan. In 1995, he became the first Japanese professional sommelier (AIS) in Italy and later received various awards, including the Caterina De’ Medici International Prize, the Maria Luigia International Prize and the Barbi Colombini International Prize for his work in promoting Italian food culture around the world. Returning to Japan, he was president of Eataly Japan from 2008 to 2015, managing the import and sale of many Italian food products of excellence. Over the years, he has passed on his passion and experience for Italian wines and food through numerous publications, the latest of which in 2019 is entitled “Italian Wine and Japanese Cuisine”. From 2005, he also founded Solo Italia, his consulting company through which he strives to promote Italian wine in Japan and to act as a bridge between Italian producers and the Japanese market.
Salvatore Shigeta (born Salvatore Cuomo) is an Italian celebrity chef, restaurateur and media personality in Japan, known for his food-focused television programs and cookbooks, as well as his restaurants throughout Asia. Known in Japan as “The Pizza Man” and “The Grand Chef”, he is committed to improving Italian cuisine internationally. Salvatore Cuomo restaurants, catering services, cookbooks and licensed products are operated by Ystable Corporation, owned and managed by Seizaburo Kanayama and Salvatore Cuomo. Salvatore Cuomo was born in Naples, Italy, in 1972, the son of an Italian father and a Japanese mother. Cuomo was first inspired by his father who was also an Italian chef in Naples. He started at the young age of 11, where he trained in the kitchen and travelled frequently between Italy and Japan. Gradually he learned to fuse the traditional Italian art of cooking with the Japanese art of perfection. A few years later he travelled to Japan with his father who opened an Italian restaurant in Chiba in 1984. About those early years Salvatore told the press that it was not a good experience to start with: “I didn’t like Japan at all, so after one year, I went back to Italy and spent 2-3 years studying in a cooking school. When I was 18, I went back to Japan after my father got sick and I’ve been here ever since.” Cuomo said that Italian cuisine was just starting to become popular at the time: he and his two brothers decided that in order to succeed in the restaurant business in Japan they would have to understand the Japanese food mentality. They spent a couple of years researching the market before opening a new restaurant in Tokyo with what Cuomo calls “original Neapolitan pizza”. Since then, Cuomo has been credited with catapulting Neapolitan pizza to Japan and now throughout Asia. His first job was as a pizzaiolo in Naples, where he first gained experience in preparing Italian pizzas and dishes and developed a relationship with his mentor, his father. Cuomo has been credited with catapulting Neapolitan pizza to Japan and today manages and supervises more than 77 Salvatore Pizza restaurants and five Salvatore Cuomo The Kitchen restaurants (in Kyoto, Nagoya, Shanghai and Seoul), as well as Salvatore Cuomo Bros (under the XEX umbrella), BOTTEGA casual restaurants, Café al Grazie establishments and Bar Italiaichiba. Cuomo has made numerous guest appearances on TV shows such as Iron Chef and Buona Sera, an Italian cooking show on WOWOW. He has written three books: Welcome to Neapolitan Dining Table (1995), Happy Pasta (1997), Sun’s Dining Table (1999), One Life (2010), #PIZZAUNESCO 2016, #PIZZAUNESCO 2017. In 2010, the Yucasee newspaper reported Salvatore Cuomo in collaboration with 辻 口 博 啓 氏Tsujikuchi Hiroshi Akira, a Japanese pastry chef-chocolatier. In March 2014 ANA (All Nippon Airways) joined forces with Salvatore Cuomo. Chef Cuomo has said numerous times that he is very careful not to neglect his outside activities for too long. “It is very important to stay in the chef’s uniform. I could be a CEO, but the kitchen is my second home. You can only understand your customers’ feelings there, not just by asking the staff.” In December 2013, chef Tsujikuchi Hiroshi at Le Chocolat de H (Japan), owned by Salvatore Cuomo, won the highest award for a pastry chef at the Salon Du Chocolat, an international pastry competition held in Paris. In February 2014, Salvatore Cuomo opened his first restaurant in Taiwan. TVBS reported that the chef’s move would help the country with a $70 million injection into the economy. Paul Huaug, a pizza maker working for Chef Cuomo, won the Caputo Cup (Taipei) in May 2014. Paul Huang is the first Taiwanese pizzaiolo officially recognized by the Italian Neapolitan Pizzaiolo Association). Also in the same month, Salvatore Cuomo appeared in Vogue Taiwan and Taiwanese television invaded the restaurant for the weeks following the competition, when Taiwan’s first pizzaiolo won an international competition for the first time in the country’s history. In June 2014, Taiwanese magazine Bazar named Cuomo the best thing to come to Taiwan in 2014. In June 2016 he opened a new restaurant in Manila, in the Philippines, named BGC: Salvatore Cuomo & BAR. Today Salvatore Cuomo is Vice President, COO and Executive Chef of Y’s Table Corporation (Tokyo Stock Exchange No.2798). He is the owner-founder C.E.O. of Salvatore Cuomo International LTD in Hong Kong.
Born in Bergamo, he began to develop his passion for culinary art at the hotel training center and under the guidance of Ezio Santin at the Antica osteria del Ponte, now a starred restaurant on the outskirts of Milan. In 1983 he joined the famous Rex restaurant in Los Angeles, where he was appreciated for his simple regional cuisine. The owner Mauro Vincenti has often dedicated his location to “post-Oscar” parties by hosting other important chefs such as Gianfranco Vissani, Michel Rostang and Pinuccio Alia. Bombana arrived in Hong Kong in June 1993 to open the Toscana restaurant inside the Ritz Carlton hotel which in a very short time has won a special place in the heart of many Hong Kong gourmets. During the 15 years spent at Toscana, Bombana has also influenced the kitchens of the Ritz Carltons of Laguna Niguel, California, Boston, Osaka, Seoul and Singapore with his consultancy. His advice to the Crystal Symphony Cruise Ship and to the gastronomic line of United Airlines’ First and Business Class flights for all flights in Asia was significant. In 2006, he was elected Ambassador in the world of the Alba white truffle by the Cavour Regional Enoteca. After the experience at the Toscana restaurant, ended in 2008, during the summer of 2009 Bombana embarks on a new adventure with his friend colleague Roland Schuller. Their restaurant, The Drawing Room, was awarded with the Michelin star in less than a year. In 2010 Bombana is ready for his personal big project. A restaurant that reflects his philosophy, his love for Italian cuisine, his research for precious ingredients from all over the world. The consecration later came in December 2011 with the third Michelin star, the first and only Italian restaurants abroad to date. Bombana made himself known and appreciated in China with the opening, in 2012, of 8 ½ Eight and a Half BOMBANA Shanghai (today two Michelin stars) and, in 2013, of Opera Bombana in Beijing. Two different restaurants which reflect the identity of the Bergamasque chef, who has been committed for years to promoting great Italian cuisine in Asia. Umberto Bombana’s journey continues with the opening, in June 2015, of the third 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA at Galaxy Macao, today a Michelin star. In 2017, the Chef inaugurated Octavium, his “laboratory” restaurant and in 2019 he launched a new project with his colleague Master Dim Sum Wong Yiu-Por: NOVE, his first Cantonese restaurant.
Gennaro Contaldo, (20 January 1949) is an Italian chef and restaurateur, known for his association with his British protégé, Jamie Oliver, and his partnership with fellow Italian chef Antonio Carluccio and their BBC Two television series Two Greedy Italians. Contaldo is the brand ambassador for the luxury Italian holiday specialist Citalia. Contaldo grew up in the small village of Minori on the Amalfi Coast, developing his love for food from days he spent hunting with his father and grandfather, and collecting herbs for his mother. He began working in local restaurants at the age of eight. Contaldo left Italy in 1969 for London where he got married in 1974 and had three children – he later had another two children with his current partner. He briefly established an Italian antiques business before returning to cooking. Contaldo’s inspiration to cook in England was partly due to the availability of game and fungi, both important components of Amalfitan cuisine. In media interviews, Contaldo has frequently voiced his enthusiasm for foraged wild food, especially mushrooms. Contaldo later worked for popular London restaurants in St John’s Wood, and at Antonio Carluccio’s Neal Street Restaurant in London’s Covent Garden. He left Neal Street in 1998. Contaldo opened the Passione restaurant, in Charlotte Street, London, in 1999. Passione was awarded ‘Best Italian Restaurant 2005’ by the Tio Pepe Restaurant Awards. In April 2003, Contaldo published his first cookbook, Passione, which is dedicated to the Amalfitan style of cooking. The cookbook won ‘Gourmand World Cookbook – Best Italian Cuisine Book’ for 2003. His second book, Gennaro’s Italian Year, was published in September 2006. His third book, Gennaro’s Italian Home Cooking, was published in September 2008, and his fourth, Gennaro’s Easy Italian, was published in March 2010. His most recent book, “Panetteria: Gennaro’s Italian Bakery”, was published in September 2016. Contaldo is also famous for his association with his protégé, Jamie Oliver, whom he first mentored at Neal Street Restaurant in the 1990s. The two chefs have since maintained a close friendship and professional relationship. Contaldo has appeared on many of Oliver’s television shows, such as The Naked Chef. He made a comic appearance as one of Oliver’s sous-chefs on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, in a battle against famed Italian-American chef Mario Batali. Contaldo also developed menus and trained chefs for Oliver’s UK restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian, in which he is a business partner. In 2011 he toured the Italian regions alongside Antonio Carluccio in a four-part series for the BBC, “The Two Greedy Italians”. This was followed up by a second series which aired in 2012, “The Two Greedy Italians: Still Hungry”. Contaldo has made cooking appearances on numerous other television shows. On BBC1’s Saturday morning show Saturday Kitchen, he set a record of 16.36 seconds for making a three-egg omelette. In 2014 he was also awarded a Guinness World Record for the most ravioli made in two minutes. Since 2010, when he founded it, Contaldo has uploaded regularly on his YouTube channel. He also often appears on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel. As of 28 May 2019, Contaldo’s channel has received 26,119,052 views and he has 455,198 subscribers.
Luca was born and raised in the Turin area, in the foothills of the Alps, where his family has a long tradition of winemaking. His first destination was Bodrum, Turkey, where working with an international hospitality group he discovered a wide variety of Euro-Asian foods, new tastes and flavors of the southern Mediterranean. Later he returned to Italy, where he worked for 4 consecutive winters in a family run osteria on the ski resort in the Alps, Soulze DÓulx. Later he moved and worked in the southern part of Italy, where he learned the meaning of authenticity and variety of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Authenticity, simplicity, passion, quality and love for the products are concepts closely related to his Food & Beverage philosophy and the kind of cuisine he wanted to export to the world. The turning point of his life came in December 2004, when he landed in Bangkok to open Enoteca Italiana, a new restaurant and wine cellar in the city. In 2008, as a founding partner, he proudly launched “La Bottega di Luca”, a restaurant that fully embraced his vision of Food &Beverage and the idea of artisanal food, combining the passion of the producer and the chef. After this step, he developed many other projects in the Bangkok area including Pizza Massilia, the first Gourmet Pizzeria in Thailand. His motto? “Do it with passion, do it better”.
Aldo Zilli is an award-winning celebrity chef and restaurateur who specialises in Italian, vegetarian and seafood cuisine. One of nine children, he was born in the small seaside town of Alba Adriatica in the central Italian region of Abruzzo and first learnt Italian home cooking from his mother, then catering college. He was the founder and chef-patron of some of London’s most exciting and innovative restaurants, Signor Zilli, Zilli Green, Zilli Café and Zilli Bar. His Italian seafood restaurant, Zilli Fish, was a Soho institution and had been open for over 15 years until March 2012 when Aldo decided to hang up the chef’s whites and embark on other ventures. He is currently Head Consultant of the San Carlo Restaurant Group. Aldo has written 10 books including two autobiographies, Being Zilli and My Italian Country Childhood, as well as various cookery books. ‘Fresh & Green: over 100 new exciting vegetarian recipes’ was featured in the Telegraph’s Top Ten Cookery Books 2012. He has also written for many publications including The Sun, and currently writes a weekly column for the Daily Express Saturday magazine and presents a bi-weekly show on Soho Radio.
Great food and Aldo’s exuberant personality means he appears regularly on television and radio both as presenter and chef. His extensive credits include being a judge on Celebrity Masterchef in 2014 and 2015, Who’s Doing The Dishes?, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, This Morning and Daybreak for ITV, Lorraine, Through the key whole with Keith Lemon, Jeremy Vine, Celebrity Chase, Big star little star, Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is, and Country Show Cook Off for BBC2, The One Show, BBC3’s The Real Hustle, and his own primetime ITV documentary Home Is Where The Heart Is.
Aldo and fellow chef Enzo Oliveri embarked on a culinary journey across Sicily for the Good Food Channel. They have recently completed a second series of Sicily with Aldo and Enzo, for broadcast in 2016.
He captivated the nation with his performances on ITV’s Celebrity X Factor, making it through to the later stages of the competition, and also gained a huge following on Celebrity Fit Club, where he showcased his dynamic personality and led his team to victory, gaining a new slender figure in the process and sparking a passion for health and fitness, which he still has today.
He has worked with many brands, including Thomson Airways and Philadelphia, and had a hugely successful TV ad campaign with Kellogg’s Optivita. His consultancy work includes that with Italian takeaway chain Firezza in 2015-2016, and Italian restaurant chain Prezzo, where his award winning VIPizza proved extremely successful and led him to collaborate with M Kitchen at Morrisons supermarket nationwide where he now has eight products in their range, including DIVO cheese.
Aldo is regularly in the media. For example, he did an OK! Mag exclusive in November 2019, appeared recently on ITV’s ‘John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen’, features regularly on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ & ‘Good Morning Britain’ & was a winner on the most recent ‘Celebrity Hunted’ on Channel 4 at the end of 2019.
Aldo is also well known for his cooking demonstrations/masterclasses which are very popular, both here in the UK & abroad.
Aldo has been a strong supporter of a number of charities over the years and is currently Patron for the charity Bowel Cancer UK.
Born in Montecatini Terme in 1964, Andrea was elected President of the UK Sommelier Association in March 2007 and President AIS/UK (now Club AIS London) in January 2007. He graduated in Hotel & Catering Institutional Management at Westminster College in July 2000 and received the AIS Professional Sommelier Certificate in January 1994 and the AIBES Barman Certificate in April 1990.
After winning the UKBG (UK Bartender Guild, of which Andrea is a proud committee member) national competition held at the Savoy Hotel, on Monday 15th May 2000, he proudly represented Great Britain at the IBA (International Bartender Association) world competition held at the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore, 6-11 November 2000.
Over the last 30 years Andrea has worked in some of London’s finest Hotels and Restaurants; to name a few, The Savoy, Hotel Marriott, The Royal Commonwealth Society Club, the latter being owned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Neal Street Restaurant, owned by Antonio Carluccio and also at Selfridges & CO in Oxford St. as a wine advisor. Andrea started working as a sales agent twelve years ago supported by well known wineries such as Rocca delle Macie and Berlucchi, and for SPI as Wine Ambassador (Ornellaia, Masseto, Frescobaldi and Achaval Ferrer). Andrea is also a freelance consultant for bars, hotels, restaurants and wine shops for anything related to the wine and beverage business. Recently Andrea Rinaldi has been awarded with the “Stella al Merito del Lavoro” (Star of Labor Merit) with the title of “Maestro del Lavoro” (Master of Labor) issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation by Decree of the President of the Republic. The honor was awarded in London by Ambassador Pasquale Terracciano and Consul General Massimiliano Mazzanti on the occasion of the Republic Day, held at the Italian Cultural Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chef Enzo Oliveri’s talents extend beyond the realms of just cooking great food. He is also a passionate promoter of the Mediterranean diet renowned for being the healthiest on the planet and has travelled as far away as India as an ambassador and where he was also a judge and mentor at the 2016 Young Chef Olympiad.
Oliveri’s passion for cooking began at the tender age of six after he observed pastry chefs at work in his native Sicily.“Authentic Italian cuisine is regional. I was born on the beautiful island of Sicily and I have had a passion for food since I was a child”.
The obvious beneﬁts of a Mediterranean diet have lead to Oliveri collaborating with medical professionals as well as him joining the Slowfood movement as a chef ambassador. He is regularly called upon by the Italian government, the Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute to help in promoting Italian food and healthy living through exhibitions, cooking shows, master classes, gala dinners and banquettes.
Oliveri has spent the last 20 years in London, successfully weathering the 2008 recession and making a name for himself by opening a series of restaurants as well as a cookery school in Bromley of which he remains patron chef. His newest restaurant in Piccadilly is called “Tasting Sicily Enzo’s Kitchen”, and specialises in typical Sicilian cuisine with an emphasis on recipes as described by author Andrea Camilleri in his novels and TV adaptations of the popular Inspector Montalbano series.
He remains a restaurant owner and CEO of restaurant chain and in February 2017 the “Federazione Italiana Cuochi” elected him as president of the FIC UK.
He continues to teach occasional sessions at West London University and is famous for his TV cooking programmes with Michael Roux (Kitchen Impossible on ITV in the UK), in Sicily with Aldo Zilli for ‘Aldo and Enzo in Sicily’ and BBC Good Food, Gordon Ramsay (Channel 4) and Paul Hollywood in City Baker for Food Network.
His repertoire includes working for Princess Cruises, World Disney, Hilton International, Corinthia Palace, Trust House Forte and various resorts all around the world. Oliveri has cooked for a number of prime ministers, world leaders and VIPs including Princess Diana, Madonna, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Al Pacino, Kim Basinger and many more.
Chef Enzo is now also part of the International Hospitality Council and judge of the young chef olympiad.
MICHELE CASADEI MASSARI
Michele Casadei Massari is an Italian Chef based in New York City and believes passionately in these things: The power of self-expression, the importance of creativity, the beauty in sensory experiences, and the truth in science.
A true renaissance man, an entrepreneur, conceptual photographer, executive producer of books and music, public speaker, film advisor, T-shirt designer, and avid teacher, just to name a few of his vocations. Born in 1975 within the walls of his beloved Riccione, Italy and raised in Bologna, Michele moved to New York City in 2009, and has based his world of exploration and opportunity there ever since. Receiving a powerful education from the famed Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, Michele has translated his invaluable skills and curiosities acquired during his studies to establish himself as one of the most sought-after Executive Chefs and advisors in the world. He is the founder and Executive Chef of Lucciola and of four “Piccolo Cafe” restaurants in New York City. Creative and expressive. Visionary and data driven. Fueled by exquisite sensory experiences and an endless thirst for exploration and knowledge. Michele is a dedicated student of the world, a pursuer of dreams, and a promoter of other Italian artistic talents. As an Executive Chef, each of his personal passions meld into a seamless stream of visionary food, thoughtful textures, and brilliant colors that are sure to delight, mesmerize, and inspire. Michele believes the most important values are love, friendship and support. His strongest individuality comes from the words of the Italian dramatist and poet Vittorio Alfieri : “Volli, e volli sempre, e fortissimamente volli” . Alfieri’s motto, taken from a letter (Lettera responsiva a Ranieri de’ Casalbigi, 1783), refers to his strong willpower, transleting “to will” than “to want” or “to long”. Literally: “I willed, and always willed, and passionately strongly willed”.
Roberto Caporuscio began his authentic pizza-making skills straight from the source – Italy. Roberto was born and raised on a dairy farm in Pontinia, Italy where he first developed his culinary skills producing and selling cheese. It was, however, in Napoli, the birthplace of pizza, where he went to study the art and craft of Neapolitan pizza with the most talented pizza masters, including Antonio Starita. After training with the best, he established two successful pizzerias in Pittsburgh, PA, then A Mano in Ridgewood, NJ, and ultimately in New York City in 2009 when he opened Kesté Pizza & Vino on Bleecker Street, followed by Don Antonio in Midtown in February, 2012.
Roberto has become one of the most highly praised pizza chefs amongst his peers and in the media, critically acclaimed as “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine, “Best Pizza” in New York State by Food Network Magazine and among the top 25 “Best Pizza Places in the US” by Food and Wine.
A passionate advocate of the Neapolitan Pizza Industry, Roberto serves as U.S. President of PAF Pizza Academy Foundation, the elite Italian governing body teaching the 300-year-old art of Neapolitan pizza making, and certifies adherence to authentic procedures. The pizza maestro is called upon by numerous restaurants throughout the United States, for private consultations, and conducts an intensive, ten day Neapolitan pizza-making course at which he issues APN certification to aspiring Neapolitan pizza makers/restauranteurs around the world.
Currently, Roberto is the president and owner of Keste Pizza & Vino where he teaches the art of cheese making at the Fulton location’s pizza school.
Arrived in New York City carrying a suitcase packed with 45 knives, in love with the city skyline and the promise the Big Apple held, he came ready to cook.
Raffaele’s culinary journey to America began in the rustic town of Alghero, Sardinia. He studied at the Culinary Professional Institute of Hotel and Restaurant Management and spent his summers working at 5 stars Restaurants Hotel Corte Rosada and Baia di Conte. After his graduation, he joined Princess Cruises Lines, sailing to Alaska, Australia, Europe, India and the Caribbean. One fateful morning approaching port on the Hudson River, Raffaele knew he found his home. He returned to Sardinia and told everyone of his decision to move to Manhattan.
Once in New York, he started working at Giovanni 25 a cozy uptown restaurant. He honed his skills as chef de cuisine and learned the inner working of the New York restaurant scene. He later joined the staff of Baraonda restaurant as Executive Chef. Four years later, he opened his own restaurant, Osteria del Sole, in a quiet section of Greenwich Village as a tribute to his homeland island of Sardinia. Raffaele treats food as a Celebration, he sings the praises of fresh ingredients, simply prepared, blending only the best Italian ingredients with his favorite cooking style, “A la Minute” Raffaele attributes the intensely flavored, enchanting, succulent dishes he prepares to the rich culinary tradition of his ancestors. A results-oriented professionally trained Chef who sets high standards in all aspects of work with extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant industries.
He is now owner and Executive Chef at Osteria Brooklyn and is the Vice President of AICNY (Associazione Italiani Cuochi New York).
Davide started working in Vincenzo Costa’s pizzeria “Da Gennaro” when he was only 9 years old, and Vincenzo took him under his wing, teaching him all the secrets of the trade. He remembers the hours he spent in that pizzeria, especially the lessons he taught me about the art of pizza and life.
Shortly after he turned 18, he decided that the time had come to put himself to the test: he left that pizzeria, which had become like a second family, to begin his journey of professional and personal growth, which led him to meet Rossopomodoro.
At a time in history when pizza was seen as an inviolable taboo, something to be kept as close to tradition as possible, Rossopomodoro experimented with completely new recipes and doughs, placing itself in a highly innovative way within this world.
This desire to put himself on the line led him to achieve an important goal: the victory, in 2013, of the 12th World Pizzaiuolo Championship “Trofeo Caputo”. This victory marked the beginning of his collaboration with the Naples-based Mulino Caputo.
Thanks to Mulino Caputo, he learnt how important it was, in addition to knowing how to do his job well, to know the details behind the ingredients and the best way to use them.
After many years in the business, he has realized that the secret is never to feel like you reached the top: day after day, never miss an opportunity to learn something new, always approaching this work with the same enthusiasm as on the first day.
Fabrizio Facchini, with his wife Samira, has been the Chef and Owner of the small Boutique Hotel And Restaurant “Antico Borgo in Arcevia, Le Marche Region” in Italy since 2009. Father of four wonderful kids, he has been recognized and published in the Michelin Italy Guide since 2012 and other prestigious guides, magazines, press and food blogs around over the world.
He moved from Italy with his family to San Diego and and since 2017 live in NY State. Fabrizio is an Executive Chef and Business Owner in the USA and he was awarded by the Italian American Chamber in New York for his work bringing an Authentic Italian Cuisine to the USA. He has opened and developed different concepts and restaurants such Clandestino & Facchini’s in San Diego, Taverna Novo in Saratoga Springs in Upstate NY, Cotto – Cucina Italiana in the new Renaissance Hotel in Chelsea New York, Stellina Ristorante in Oyster Bay NY and in 2020 he took over the historical Cardinali Bakery in Long Island, established in 1990. Using the name he has founded the Cardinali Italian Markets located in Osyter Bay and Syosset NY.
Fabrizio is part of the Slow Food Chef Alliance in Italy and the USA. He is the Co-Chair of Cooks Alliance Slow Food USA and Cooks Alliance President Slow Food New York State. He has participated in Denver at Slow Food Nations Festival 2018 where he cooked at the Zero Waste Family Meal with Massimo Bottura and other famous chefs. He was invited in 2018 to cook a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House.
In 2019 he created the Italian Kitchen at the SFN2019 inviting and collaborating with renowned Chefs, Food Lovers, Authors as Antonio Starita, Alex Seidel, Alice Waters, and many others.
Fabrizio is a board member as Adviser of AICNY (Association Italian Chefs Of New York). Fabrizio is also involved in other foundations and nonprofit organizations such as Food For Soul, Nature Kids in Costa Rica, Sons of Italy, NoKidsHungry, FoodBankNY, Noah Homes San Diego and others. He appeared on Food Network and other TV shows. His collaboration in Fundraising Events like NYCWFF and City Harvest with Friend Chefs such Rocco DiSpirito, Geoffrey Zakarian, Guy Fieri, Lidia Bastianich, Michele Mazza, Cesare Casella and many orthers has permitted to raise money to help community and causes.
Fabrizio is also a Brand Ambassador for Urbani Truffles, Pasta Di Martino and DiSano Pistacchio di Bronte. Since 2020, Fabrizio is part of Associazione Italiana Ambasciatori Del Gusto.
Francesco Guarracino is the Executive Chef in the kitchen of Roberto’s Abu Dhabi, on the coast of Al Maryah Island. He says that he does not have blood in his veins but tomato sauce. At the age of 11, he already had his hands in the kitchen, despite the disapproval of his father, also a chef, who was working in the kitchen of Don Alfonso 1890 at the time. Francesco, after working in many renowned restaurants in Italy, embarked on his adventures abroad: Monte Carlo, Paris, Spain, England.
During his time in Great Britain, first in the 22 restaurants of the Piccolino chain, and then as executive chef in the restaurants of the San Carlo group, he learned rigour and discipline, which combined with creativity and imagination, have made him a sought-after professional. Before Roberto’s, Francesco was at the helm of Bice Mare in Dubai, making it one of the landmarks of Italian cuisine in the city in just a few years. For Francesco, the kitchen is a beautiful place to be, working with the precious products of small Italian artisans, those who, as he says, smile when they make good things.