You are not born a chef, you become one. I have thrown my life into it, meetings of the ways, flavours, everything that has led me on my journey into the world of cooking. My fondest memories are to be found here.
I took my first steps in cooking with my grandmother, I watched with admiration as she prepared traditional dishes, such as “candele alla genovese” with immense dedication. She made me break the candele in my hands together with her. What a satisfaction it was to know you had actually contributed to a dish. I still use it in my menu today
Where everything began. My parents did not want me to go to catering school but I remember what I said to them to this very day. “Either you let me go or I do nothing”. My father said, “Don’t do this, but if you have to, do it well!”
One day, Cinzia (and I did not know her at that time) was in the car with her father and the Manager of the Hotel San Rocco, where I was working at the time. He said to Cinzia’s father, “I’ve got a Neapolitan cook (me) working for me. Do you want him with you for a few months at the Approdo?”
I didn’t know it then, but that was the moment that brought me to my wife. In that car, and I wasn’t even there.
As I have already said: a dream and a challenge. My wife and I threw ourselves into it heart and soul, but our efforts have been rewarded over the course of time. Villa Crespi was not like it is today, it was falling down, but it had all its very own magic.
A lawyer called Esposito, the owner, mentioned to me that he wanted to sell it. I called my father who came north to help me make my decision. You know the rest.
I was taught that when things have to happen, they all happen at once. Luckily this is sometimes also true for good news.
In 2003 I married my wife Cinzia, I got my first Michelin star and also 3 forks in the Italian Gambero Rosso food guide. Can you believe it? Crazy!
After massive effort, the stars come to me. To be frank, at the beginning of my career, I didn’t even know what they were. Now I know well what they are: recognition for sacrifice.
Of course, it takes a little luck too, but only a pinch! All the rest is time taken out from life, no holidays and 20 hours a day at work!
Our children teach us so much, they are the mirror of our mistakes and weaknesses. You grow up thanks to them.
Their arrival ensured Tonino the man took stock of himself. It was as if suddenly my horizons had broadened.
Laqua Charme & Boutique is a dream come true which Cinzia and I had had for a long time. We wanted a place where people could relax, leaving the daily stress far behind them thanks to the magic of the Sorrento Gulf. Everyone needs a little pampering every now and again, even big chaps like me.
Our seaside home, open to all.
Kitchen Nightmares was my first serious approach to televison. I was nervous and diffident, I thought it was all fake but it’s not. Some want to get on the show because they are truly desperate, on the edge of bankruptcy, others because they want visibility. And the difference is obvious.
I try very hard to leave a mark on those who are serious about what they are doing. I take them to Villa Crespi too.
But I never expected that call. Masterchef is a programme that is tried and true, with so many followers, guided by the Three Musketeers, as I call them. I have known Cracco and Barbieri for years and years, Bastianich is the most incredible entrepreneur.
I realised that all I had to do, to do well, was to be myself, take my character and my cooking on screen.
The Cannavacciuolo Cafè & Bistrot officially opened its doors in October 2015.
My wife looked after the restoration and refurbishment, the furnishing and design together with the designer Draga Obradovic.
The Coccia Theatre in Novara is unique, it offsets the informal atmosphere in the Bistrot perfectly. I wanted to bring my cooking to everyone, because a humble pasta without silver cutlery is worth doing and eating!
The best project is yet to come!
I’ll be filling up this section
for a long time to come, guys!
I’ve got loads of ideas but not much time to focus on them. Commitments, family, just life! But over and above all is my kitchen, my real home. There is so much more to come, its not goodbye, just farewell!