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Antonino Cannavacciuolo

Antonino Cannavacciuolo

Despite a lifelong love for the food of Naples, being in Piedmont didn’t stop Antonino from cooking some of his favourite dishes. He began to combine his childhood memories with the fantastic produce and traditions of northern Italy. ‘I appreciate all sorts of cooking,’ he says. ‘I have always made fusion food in Piedmont by combining the different ingredients of the area with those from my youth, until I find something that works.’ His Risotto with oil, clams, thyme and lemon combines the northern rice dish with the southern Italians’ love of clams, while a snail stew pays homage to his time in France and one of Sicily’s famous dishes. Antonino believes his father’s technical expertise and rigorous work ethic, combined with his mother’s love of preparing warm, comforting dishes were both very important in shaping his cooking style, and says their lessons were just as important as any he learnt in the kitchen.

In 2003, around the time Antonino received his first Michelin star, he was invited to host a cooking show on Italian television, elevating his status to a nationally recognised chef. His natural demeanour in front of the camera led to more TV work, and in 2013 he became the first host of the Italian version of Kitchen Nightmares. Antonino accepted the role as he had experienced all the ups and downs of running a restaurant himself, and wanted to help others in any way he could. His advice was sound, and every single one of the businesses he helped turned their fortunes around and became a success.

Three things you should know

Antonino was introduced as the fourth judge on MasterChef Italy earlier this year, as part of the touring jury panel.

In 2013, Antonino's restaurant Villa Crespi was voted among the Top 100 Foodie Restaurants in Europe.

Villa Crespi was originally built in 1879 by a wealthy cotton merchant in the style of a Moorish castle.