11 Most Famous Italian Chefs and Their Culinary Stories

Italian food is enjoyed all around the world, and of course, many Italian chefs have become famous for their creativity, their passion, and their innovative approach to their art.

Here are 11 famous Italian chefs you might have already heard of if you really love Italian food.

1. Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura is a famous Italian chef who was born in Modena, Italy, where you can visit his restaurant, Osteria Francescana. He has trained in Monte Carlo, but also in New York and in Spain, and is now known around the world.

For Massimo Bottura, the perfect dish starts with a traditional dish, to which he adds unusual ingredients to create a new, modern take using different techniques.


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2. Gualtiero Marchesi

Gualtiero Marchesi, who passed away in 2017, was considered by many to be the father of modern Italian cuisine. This famous Italian chef has formed himself all over the world, but also at home, in his family restaurant.

He has opened restaurants in his hometown of Milan, Italy, but also in France, in Japan, and on cruise ships. His philosophy was that traditional dishes could be vivified with just a few innovative changes.


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3. Antonio Carluccio

Antonio Carluccio was another famous Italian chef who passed away in 2017. Born in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, he has lived in London for many years, and his restaurant, Carluccio’s, has more than 80 locations in the United Kingdom.

Antonio Carluccio has been called the godfather of Italian gastronomy. He has written 20 books on Italian cuisine, and he has appeared in a few television series.


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4. Giada de Laurentiis

Known as one of the most famous Italian chefs, Giada de Laurentiis was born in Rome, Italy, but now lives in Los Angeles. She has studied in Paris with the goal of becoming a pastry chef, but she eventually became a professional chef as well as a food stylist.

She has written many books on Italian cuisine, she owns her own restaurants, and she has hosted, and appeared on, a few different television shows.


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5. Gino d’Acampo

Gino d’Acampo was born in Naples, Italy, but is now living in England. This celebrity chef is mostly known for his cookbooks, and for his appearances on many television shows focused on food.

Gino d’Acampo, who has always stayed true to simple Italian cuisine, has opened a restaurant chain named either Gino d’Acampo My Restaurant, or My Pasta Bar.


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6. Carlo Cracco

Carlo Cracco, born in Veneto, Italy, is the face and the voice of MasterChef Italia. He has also hosted seasons of Hell’s Kitchen Italia, collaborated with Gualtiero Marchesi, and opened his own restaurants, Cracco and Le Clivie.

He strongly believes that creativity and tradition can meet in the kitchen, and he likes to bring new ideas to classic northern Italian cuisine.


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7. Gennaro Contaldo

Gennaro Contaldo, born in Minori, Italy, is a famous chef who is mostly known for his association with his protégé, British chef Jamie Oliver, and for his partnership with Antonio Carluccio.

He has written many cookbooks, and has appeared on many television shows. His passion for cooking started when he was young, hunting game with his father and collecting herbs with his mother.


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8. Antonino Cannavacciuolo

Antonino Cannavacciulo was born in Campania, Italy. He was mostly formed in France, and by working with Gualtiero Marchesi. He now owns and runs his own restaurant, Villa Crespi.

Antonino Cannavaciulo believes that we take the flavours and the perfumes of our homelands with us, wherever we go. He has been hosting the show Kitchen Nightmares, and is working as a judge on MasterChef Italia.


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9. Davide Oldani

Davide Oldani was born in Cornaredo, Italy, where he has opened his first restaurant, D’O, in 2013. Since then, he has opened other restaurants and cafés.

He has trained with a few renowned chefs, including Gualtiero Marchesi, and he has found fame as the host of the culinary show The Chef. He likes to prepare traditional and popular dishes using only seasonal ingredients.


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10. Simone Rugiati

Simone Rugiati was born in Tuscany, Italy. After graduating from culinary school, he began working for Italian culinary publications like La mia Cucina and Buon Apetito.

On top of being a successful producer of cooking books, he has appeared in a few cooking shows, as well as in some reality shows. He has also launched a line of high quality genuine Italian products.


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11. Hector Boyardee

Ettore Boiardi, better known as Hector Boyardee, was born in Piacenza, Italy in 1897. Yes, he is the man with a chef hat you can see on cans of pasta sold by the Chef Boyardee brand.

He is famous for being the founder of this brand, but he also opened his own restaurant, Il Giardino d’Italia, where delighted patrons often asked for his recipes, or for samples of his spaghetti sauce.


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  • Show Comments

  • Katie

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Rocco DiSpirito. I see him on TV and bookstores all the time. He’s the only famous Italian chef that I know.

    • Juliet Bennett

      Yes, Mr. Rocco is quite the celebrity chef! We just wanted to highlight a variety of different famous Italian chefs, not just the well-known American ones.

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