Top 10 Most Famous Italian Chefs
As we put together this list of the most famous Italian chefs in the world we didn’t want to simply focus on the names that are familiar to western audiences but more importantly introduce the world to several talented Italian chefs that you may not have heard of, yet.
Italian food culture has created one of the most popular cuisines on the planet. From pasta to pizza, it is a staple in so many areas of the world and the Italian chefs that make these incredible dishes have personalities all their own.
When the question of what to eat comes up in any conversation Italian inevitably comes up at some point, making it one of the more popular cuisines in the world. With Italian cooking on the mind, let’s take a look at 10 of the most famous Italian chefs in the world:
Chef Giada De Laurentiis
De Laurentiis was born in Rome, Italy, and it doesn’t get any more Italian than that. She grew up spending most of her time in the kitchen, learning how to cook as well as spending time in her grandfather’s restaurant DDL Foodshow where she observed many of the traits of Italian cooking.
De Laurentiis has three restaurants, Giada in The Cromwell hotel and Pronto by Giada in Caesars Palace both in Las Vegas NV, the third, GDL by Giada, is in the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, MD.
She has been the star of several cooking shows such as Everyday Italian and Behind the Bash and a guest on many others. Due to her natural beauty there was even a point when angry letters rolled into the television station accusing them of using a model who was not really cooking in their show.
Giada De Laurentiis Books
De Laurentiis has a multitude of Italian recipes that she has made into several cookbooks that have catapulted her into superstardom such as Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner, Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California, Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes and Happy Cooking.
De Laurentiis studied at LeCordon Bleu in Paris before making a return to America and working in Los Angeles restaurants. As she grew through her profession, she hosted several cooking shows before opening her own restaurants. De Laurentiis also won a Daytime Emmy Award and Gracie award for her work in television. The chef’s official site.
Chef Antonio Carluccio
Carluccio was a masterful Italian chef based in London who spent more than 50 years in the business and is considered one of the forefathers of modern Italian cuisine. He appeared on television many times over the course of his career which included Food and Drink Programme and his show Greedy Italians.
Carluccio began as a wine trader in Hamburg, Germany, before managing the restaurant Covent Garden in 1981 and then becoming the owner in 1989. In 1999 Carluccio opened his first restaurant named Carluccio’s Café which also doubled as an Italian food shop.
Best Antonio Carluccio Books
Carluccio wrote multiple cookbooks over the years on Italian cooking which still hold the standard today. Some of his books include A Taste of Italy, Carluccio’s Complete Italian Food, Antonio Carluccio’s Simple Cooking and Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy.
Carluccio passed away in 2017 at the age of 80.
Chef Massimo Bottura
Bottura, who was born in Modena Italy, is the owner and chef at Osteria Francescana in the same city he spent his childhood in. His restaurant has been winning awards for years now and is rated three-Michelin-stars. It has been at the top of “Best Restaurants” lists for several years running, making it to number one in 2016 and again in 2018.
His food has garnered praise from many sources over the years and he has continued to bring Italian culture out through his food. Unlike Giorgio Locatelli (listed below), Bottura infuses his dishes in a modern and groundbreaking way that brings the old Italy to the new world. He also stuck his toe in the television business as a feature on Netflix’s Chef’s Table as well as an episode of Master of None.
Bottura founded Food for Soul, a non-profit organization aimed at helping communities promote healthy food. The organization also focuses on food that is wasted and could be put to use feeding the hungry. They have tried to bring people together again over meals that they produce through the organization.
Best Massimo Bottura Books
Bottura also authored several books including Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef and Bread is Gold.
Chef Giorgio Locatelli
Born in Corgeno, Italy, Locatelli has been into the culinary arts since he was five years old, having spent a lot of time in the restaurant his uncle ran. Locatelli bounced around at an early age, working in restaurants in Italy, Switzerland, England and Paris.
In 2002 Locatelli opened his first independent restaurant Locanda Locatelli which earned a Michelin star in 2003.
Locatelli has also made numerous television appearances on shows such as The Big Family Cooking Showdown which is a cooking game show of sorts that pits 16 families against each other in a series of culinary challenges which has become a major hit.
He has also been featured in the television series Pure Italian, Sicily Unpacked Italy Unpacked and Tony and Giorgio. Locatelli has been a largely traditional Italian chef, maintaining the rich history that he grew up learning. His dishes are simple and conventional yet innovative and new.
Chef Rocco DiSpirito
Although he was born in Queens, New York, DiSpirito is no less Italian, and his food can attest to that. DiSpirito graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1986.
DiSpirito loves to incorporate American flavors into his Italian cooking and is known for his innovation. His dishes take on a life of their own as they include traditional yet inventive mixes that make for amazing culinary delights.
He is also a world-renowned cookbook author and celebrity chef, starring in the reality series The Restaurant and was a judge on the television series Top Chef. He was also the host of his own television program Now Eat This! With Rocco DiSpirito which he has also made into three cookbooks aimed at eating healthier and losing weight.
DiSpirito was involved in the restaurant Union Pacific which he opened in 1997 until he left in 2004. He has won multiple awards over the years and along with his several cookbooks he has authored has stayed relevant for years. DiSpirito has a website which sells organic protein powders and vegan energy mixes.
Chef Tom Colicchio
Colicchio is the owner and executive chef at Craft Los Angeles and owns another 11 restaurants some of which are located in Riverpark and Temple Court, New York City as well as Craftsteak in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada.
He is a celebrity chef who has been the head judge on Bravo’s cooking show Top Chef since its inception and is a main consulting producer on the spin off Top Chef Masters. In 2010 Colicchio won an Emmy award for producing Top Chef. He was also an executive producer and host on Best New Restaurant.
In addition, he has started a podcast called Citizen Chef in 2020. Colicchio also authored three books, Think Like a Chef, Craft of Cooking: notes and recipes from a restaurant kitchen and ‘Wichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal-and a meal into a sandwich.
Colicchio has received five James Beard Foundation Awards for his innovative cooking talents. His food has been hailed by many talented chefs in the culinary world as well as many celebrities.
Colicchio is also a part of City Harvest and Food Bank For New York City, both organizations that aim to help those in need. His participation in these organizations has been lauded and celebrated by many as he spends much of his time working for these charity organizations despite his large celebrity status.
Chef Gino D’Acampo
With over 10 locations in the UK serving his dishes, D’Acampo has spread his love of food in a major way. He brings the tastes of his native Napoli in the south of Italy to his food and keeps them simple and traditional.
He also has several restaurants named after himself in the United Kingdom, and has either appeared on or hosted multiple cooking shows such as Let’s Do Lunch With Gino and Mel, Gino’s Italian Escape, Gino’s Italian Escape: A Taste of the Sun, Gino’s Veg Italia! 100 Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes and Celebrity Juice. D’Acampo also won the television series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.
He strives to keep his food close to his roots and cook native Italian dishes as they have been cooked for years and does not stray far from this customary approach. D’Acampo also does live demonstrations and gives talks to students at local colleges.
Best Gino D’Acampo Books
D’Acampo has a whopping 16 cookbooks to his name including Fantastico!, The Italian Diet and Italian Home Baking, adding to his legacy.
Chef Salvatore Cuomo
Cuomo, another Naples born Italian, is a popular chef who took his culinary talents to Japan in an effort to improve Italian cuisine internationally. With his father being Italian and his mother Japanese, taking his dishes to his mother’s homeland was a no brainer.
At the age of 11, Cuomo began training himself in the kitchen following in his father’s footsteps. As he traveled between Italy and Japan over the years, he learned how to fuse the two cultures into his dishes and became the innovative chef that he is today.
Cuomo brought pizza to Japan and has made it a popular dish in the otherwise traditional country. He has opened up over 77 pizza restaurants and he has also written several books- Welcome to Neapolitan Dining Table, Happy Pasta, Sun’s Dining Table, One Life and #PizzaUnesco.
He has been called The Pizza Guy in Japan as he has been a major influence on the country with his Italian pizzas and cooking. Cuomo has successfully integrated his Italian influence into the Japanese culture using his amazing dishes.
Chef Carlo Cracco
Cracco, who was born in Vicenza, Italy, has been cooking innovative Italian dishes in Milan since 1986. His dishes are not the customary Italian meals that you might see from Gino D’Acampo but rather incorporate fresh, inventive ideas that give them more flair than the normal dish.
Cracco brings his dishes to life in new and innovative ways that stray somewhat from the normal Italian cuisine but still seems to fit the bill. He continually pushes the envelope when it comes to trying new things with his Italian creations.
Cracco has worked in several restaurants that have been awarded multiple Michelin stars such as L’Albereta and LeClivie, the second being the first restaurant that he opened himself.
Along with a partner Cracco opened Cracco-Peck in a joint venture which garnered 2 Michelin stars. He eventually took the restaurant over himself and renamed it Ristorante Cracco, which was named one of Restaurant Magazine’s “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”. Cracco also made a name for himself as a television star by appearing on MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen.
Chef Fabio Viviani
Viviani was born in Florence, Italy where he began his love for culinary arts by helping out in a local bakery before he was even old enough to be employed. As a teenager he worked in several restaurants and became a sous chef when he was only 16 years old.
Viviani has opened seven restaurants in Florence before moving to the United States where he opened two more restaurants, Firenze Osteria and Café Firenze.
He owns several licensing contracts with large culinary companies and also has a website with his name showcasing his recipes and blogs. Viviani has authored several books such as Cafe Firenze Cookbook: Food and Drink Recipes from the Tuscan Sons, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen and Fabio’s American Home Kitchen and appeared on numerous cooking shows including as a contestant on Top Chef.
Who are your favorite Italian chefs?
These top 10 famous Italian chefs have all inspired Italian cooking through their unique perspectives and dishes. They each have made the Italian cuisine their passion in life and have been recognized for the work they have done to bring the Italian culture to the world through their food. Italian cooking is a staple of American culture and people strive to emulate these top Italian chefs as their creations uplift and mesmerize us.