It’s no secret that the evolution of media outlets coupled with the world’s desire to eat has created a rise in popularity to a variety of talented, familiar faces that people associate with excellence in the culinary world. Due to the saturation and rise in popularity of TV networks like the Food Network and foodie websites like Epicurious, people with the desire to learn more about food and how to make the recipes are becoming more interested in the people behind these eccentric and authentic creations. The birth of the celebrity chef came about in the late 90’s with big personalities like Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck launching television shows and eventually branching out to branded restaurants. The meteoric rise in reality TV started to catapult many different faces to the big screen, giving birth a new world of culinary rock stars that have branched out as entrepreneurs in the world of food. Flora Fine Foods have compiled a list of Italy’s finest, celebrity chefs to highlight and educate our family on diamonds that risen out of small kitchens and into our everyday lives.
Born in Torre Del Grecco, Naples, Italy, Gino is known as one of the most popular chefs and media personalities in all of Europe. He rose to fame on the British network, ITV, on the show This Morning, Let’s Do Lunch, There’s No Taste Like Home and eventually starred in his self-titled show Gino’s Italian Escape. At 19, Gino began his career in London cooking at The Orchard Restaurant in London before eventually branching off. He started his own Italian food supplier company called Bonata Italia Ltd and began to create retail, meals ready to go. After the celebrity chef started to blossom in the London market, Gino opened a chain of simple restaurants called My Pasta Bar. There are currently 5 locations in London, and he is a very familiar face on Chopped as celebrity judge. To add to the list of his achievements, Gino holds 6 Guiness World Records which include “the most raviolis made in two minutes” with 22 and “the most bottles of champagne opened in one minute” with 7.
Born in Milan, Italy, Marchesi is considered by the founder of modern Italian cuisine. Early in his years, his parents ran a successful restaurant and hotel in Via Bezzeca called L’Albergo del Mercato, where he began his career in the kitchen. At 17, he left school to work at Hotel Kulm in St. Moritz and studied at a hotel school in Lucerne before returning to run his parents hotel. Eventually the hotel was sold in 1966, but Gualtiero still ran the operations exclusively. He started with traditional lunches, but when it came to dinner, Marchesi got creative. His avant-garde cuisine was a very popular hit for many celebrities that frequented the hotel. People like Fellini and Agnelli were regulars at Marchesi’s tables that thoroughly enjoyed his free-hand experimentation with food. He opened his first restaurant in Milan called Via Bonvesin de la Riva, where he received his first Michelin star. Seven years later, he received a third Michelin star. Gaultiero was the first Italian chef to receive this honor in Italian history. In 1998, he opened Gualtiero Marchesi di San Pietro all’Orto, which a revolutionary introduction to a restaurant that incorporated traditional cooking, modern technology and introduced a cooking academy. Fame started to attract some of the big players, and eventually even McDonald’s called upon him to design a hamburger for them for the Italian market.
Born in Rome, Italy, Giada had a very strong pedigree of food in her blood. Her grandfather owned a restaurant, DDL Foodshow in Beverly Hills, California. After her parents divorced, she moved to Southern California with her mother and spent a lot of time around the kitchen in her grandfather’s restaurants. After earning her degree in sociology from University of California, Los Angeles, Giada headed to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to become a pastry chef. She returned to Los Angeles to work at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Spago, and worked as a food stylist and was contacted by Food Network after styling a piece in Food & Wine Magazine in 2002. Her TV show Everyday Italian launched in 2003 on Food Network and the network was accused on staging a model in as a chef. Hurts to be beautiful, Giada. We know the feeling. She’s published 6 books and continues to the beautiful face of the Food Network.
The Salerno, Italy native is known the “Godfather of Italian Gastronomy”. Son of a stationmaster, Carluccio moved frequently in the Northern region of Italy. He and his father would hunt the forests for different types of mushrooms, fungi and truffles. Most of his years were spent in Piedmont, but at the age of 21, he moved to Vienna to study languages. From 1962 to 1975, he spent time in Germany as a wine merchant. Eventually, the “Most Interesting Italian in World” settled in the United Kingdom where he began importing Italian wines. As things began to settle down for Antonio, he took over management at the Neal St
reet Restaurant. He later purchased the restaurant from Terence Conran in 1989. This is where celebrity chef, Jaime Oliver, began his career with Carluccio until the restaurant closed in 2006. Carluccio starred in several BBC series including Two Greedy Italians. He wrote twenty books on Italian cuisine throughout his career and was knighted by the British government in 1998.