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.

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