Cesare Casella’s point of view that ingredient simplicity and freshness is the heart of Italian cuisine is what has made him one of New York City’s most renowned and sought-after Italian chefs. His entrée into the culinary world began at age 14, when he enrolled in the Culinary Institute Ferdinando Martiniat, and following graduation transformed his family's restaurant, Vipore, from a local hangout into a well-known regional destination—earning it a Michelin star in 1993. Upon his arrival in New York, Chef Casella was named executive chef of New York's Coco Pazzo and soon launched a sister restaurant, Il Toscanaccio. In March 2001, he opened his first solo restaurant, the critically acclaimed Beppe, followed by Maremma in 2005. It was also at this time that Chef Casella brought his vision and expertise to the students of the International Culinary Center as its Dean of Italian Studies, designing the curricula for the Italian Culinary Experience—a comprehensive study-abroad training program in Italian cuisine, culture, and language.
His passion for his craft and innovative Italian recipes have extended his reach outside the New York area with the publication of multiple books, appearances on Iron Chef, Best Thing I Ever Ate, No Reservations, Food Porn, Top Chef, and Martha Stewart Living, and features in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and Men’s Health. Chef Casella is also active in the non-profit arena, promoting nutrition, sustainability, and other causes through his involvement in the Center for Discovery, City Harvest, Autism Speaks, Slow Food USA, Chef's Collaborative, and the Seafood Alliance. Today, in addition to his role as Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center, he is the executive chef/partner of Salumeria Rosi, an salumi shop and restaurant with locations in New York and Paris—where the beauty and importance of ingredients is celebrated in an intimate and focused way—and the ingredient import company, the Republic of Beans.
Accolades and Achievements
- Earned Michelin star at Vipore
- Silver Spoon Award, Food Arts magazine
- Named one of New York City's 17 Greatest Chefs by the Village Voice
- Founder of the International Day of Italian Cuisine
- Vice President and US delegate, itchefs, Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani
- Distinguished Service Award, Italian Trade Commission
- Green Shovel Award, Center for Discovery
- Senior manager, DaVinci Project, Center for Discovery