At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Gennaro Contaldo – Chef



TV cook is passionate about Amalfi’s speciality dishes


Celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo was born on this day in 1949 in Minori in Campania.

Gennaro Contaldo inspired Jamie Oliver's interest in Italian food
Gennaro Contaldo
Contaldo has made many appearances on British television alongside chefs such as Antonio Carluccio, Jamie Oliver and James Martin and he has also brought out several cook books.

It is well documented that he is the man responsible for inspiring Jamie Oliver’s interest in Italian food.

Contaldo grew up in the small seaside town of Minori near Amalfi and is a passionate advocate of the style of cooking in the area, cucina amalfitana.

From an early age he was interested in dishes cooked with local produce, going out to collect wild herbs for his mother, and he began helping out in local restaurants at the age of eight.

Contaldo moved to Britain in the late 1960s and travelled around the country working in village restaurants and studying the food growing wild in each area, such as herbs and mushrooms.

He eventually went to London and worked in several restaurants, including Antonio Carluccio’s establishment in Neal Street .

Contaldo opened his own restaurant in London, Passione, which won a Best Restaurant award, but he closed it after a few years when business began to decline.

His first cook book, Passione, dedicated to cucina amalfitana, won an award in 2003.

He mentored Jamie Oliver when they first met and has appeared on many of Oliver’s television shows, also helping him develop the menus for his chain of Italian restaurants in the UK .

Contaldo toured the regions of Italy with Antonio Carluccio for the BBC series, Two Greedy Italians. They then made a second series Two Greedy Italians: Still Hungry.

Contaldo now lives in London with his partner and their twin daughters.

Travel tip:

Minori is a pretty seaside resort on the Amalfi coast in the province of Salerno, with a good beach and plenty of hotels and restaurants. The ruins of a first century Roman villa were discovered there during the 1950s, showing that Minori had been considered a good holiday location more than 2000 years ago.

The Cathedral of St Andrew is Amalfi's architectural pride
The Cathedral of St Andrew
is Amalfi's architectural pride

Travel tip:

The quaint town of Amalfi was once a maritime power but now the boats just bring visitors to look round the narrow streets and enjoy the restaurants and shops. The town’s great architectural treasure, the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, which dates back to the ninth century, is up a flight of steps from the main square. Amalfi used to be a centre for the production of paper. Most of the paper mills have now closed but you can still buy beautiful stationery produced by one local business.

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