Dean of Italian Studies

Cesare Casella is an acclaimed restaurateur, consultant, author and educator based in New York. He is best known as the chef with the rosemary — rarely without a small bouquet springing from his jacket pocket, a signature that represents dedication to fresh ingredients and the whimsey of  his childhood in the Tuscan countryside where rosemary grew wild and his family ran a small trattoria, Vipore, outside of Lucca.

For over 25 years, Chef Casella has been sharing his passion for authentic Italian food with Americans. He serves as Chief of DNA, the Department of Nourishment Arts® at The Center for Discovery and is the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center. Chef Casella is a consultant and advisor for several US based organizations in the food industry and owns his own salumi company, Casella’s.

Chef Casella has written several books including 2013 James Beard Foundation Award nominee, The Fundamentals of Classic Italian Cuisine (2012), True Tuscan (2005), Italian Cooking for Dummies (2002), and Diary of a Tuscan Chef (1998). Chef Casella also contributed to the English edition of Food Editore’s Gusto, an encyclopedia of Italian food and ingredients published by Abbeville Press in April 2014. Most recently, he published Feeding the Heart (2016).

A favorite with the media, Chef Casella was voted one of the best chefs in New York City by Food & Wine magazine and has appeared on hit shows such as “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef,“Best Thing I Ever Ate,” No Reservations,” and “After Hours with Daniel Boulud.” He has been featured in prominent print publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Gourmet.

Casella opened his first solo New York restaurant, Beppe, in honor of his grandfather, Giuseppe in 2001 earning critical praise and commercial success for its authentic, rule-bending Tuscan cuisine. In 2005, Forbes awarded Casella’s restaurant Maremma with three stars and New York Magazine called it one of the Top 5 “Best New Restaurants.” Soon after Casella was the recipient of Food Arts magazine’s “Silver Spoon Award” and later he was honored with the title of “Best Meatballs” and “Critic’s Choice” by New York Magazine.

Chef Casella frequents both the James Beard House and De Gustibus as a featured visiting guest chef. He is an active member and supporter of City Harvest, City-Meals on Wheels, Food Bank of New York, and Slow Food USA. For decades the ‘Tuscan Chef’ has been eternally committed to helping people understand that Italian culture is defined by its history and its most basic components – much like how Italian cuisine is defined by the ingredients from which a dish derives.

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