Gennaro Contaldo

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Gennaro Contaldo
Born (1949-01-20) 20 January 1949 (age 70)
Culinary career
Cooking styleItalian cuisine

Gennaro Contaldo, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒenˈnaːro konˈtaldo]; born 20 January 1949) is an Italian chef and restaurateur, known for his association with his protégé, Jamie Oliver, and his partnership with fellow Italian chef Antonio Carluccio and their BBC Two television series Two Greedy Italians. Gennaro is the brand ambassador for the luxury Italian holiday specialist - Citalia[1].

Early life[edit]

Contaldo grew up in the small village of Minori on the Amalfi Coast, developing his love for food from days he spent hunting with his father and grandfather, and collecting herbs for his mother. He began working in local restaurants at the age of eight.


Contaldo left Italy in 1969 for London where he got married in 1974 and had three children - he later had another two children with his current partner. He briefly established an Italian antiques business before returning to cooking. Contaldo's inspiration to cook in England was partly due to the availability of game and fungi, both important components of Amalfitan cuisine. In media interviews, Contaldo has frequently voiced his enthusiasm for foraged wild food, especially mushrooms.[2][3][4]

Contaldo later worked for popular London restaurants in St John's Wood, and at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street Restaurant in London's Covent Garden. He left Neal Street in 1998.

Contaldo opened the Passione restaurant, in Charlotte Street, London, in 1999. Passione was awarded 'Best Italian Restaurant 2005' by the Tio Pepe Restaurant Awards. Passione closed in March 2009 due to decreased business as a result of the late-2000s recession.[5]

In April 2003, Contaldo published his first cookbook, Passione, which is dedicated to the Amalfitan style of cooking. The cookbook won 'Gourmand World Cookbook - Best Italian Cuisine Book' for 2003. His second book, Gennaro's Italian Year, was published in September 2006. His third book, Gennaro's Italian Home Cooking, was published in September 2008, and his fourth, Gennaro's Easy Italian, was published in March 2010. His most recent book, "Panetteria: Gennaro's Italian Bakery", was published in September 2016.

Contaldo is also famous for his association with his protégé, Jamie Oliver, whom he first mentored at Neal Street Restaurant in the 1990s. The two chefs have since maintained a close friendship and professional relationship. Oliver even once put up a reward for information when Contaldo's restaurant, Passione, was burgled in 2003.[6] Contaldo has appeared on many of Oliver's television shows, such as The Naked Chef. He made a comic appearance as one of Oliver's sous chefs on Food Network's Iron Chef America, in a battle against famed Italian-American chef Mario Batali. Contaldo also developed menus and trained chefs for Oliver's UK restaurant chain Jamie's Italian, in which he is a business partner. A little-known fact is that Contaldo was actually the inspiration for Jamie Oliver to name his first book 'The Naked Chef'. Oliver claims Contaldo used to come round to his house every Sunday and slowly lose clothes whilst he was making hollandaise sauce for their poached eggs. "By the time the eggs hit the toast it was not only the eggs on my plate that I was looking at" Jamie recently said in an interview with the Guardian.[7]

In 2011 he toured the Italian regions alongside Antonio Carluccio in a 4-part series for the BBC, "The Two Greedy Italians". This was followed up by a second series which aired in 2012, "The Two Greedy Italians: Still Hungry".

Gennaro has made cooking appearances on numerous other television shows. On BBC1's Saturday morning show Saturday Kitchen, he set a record of 16.36 seconds for making a 3-egg Omelette. In 2014 he was also awarded a Guinness World Record for the most ravioli made in two minutes.[8]

Since 2010, when he founded it, Gennaro has uploaded regularly on his YouTube channel. He also often appears on Jamie Oliver's YouTube channel. As of 24 November 2017, Gennaro's channel has received 19,725,518 views and he has 424,000 subscribers.


Television Appearances[edit]

  • The Food Programme (1996-2006 - 2 programmes)
  • Breakfast (1997-2006 - 2 programmes)
  • Fresh Food (4 August 1999)
  • Self-Sufficiency (22 October 2000)
  • The Naked Chef - The Italian Job (2001)
  • Saturday Kitchen (2001- 2011 - 10+ programmes)
  • Jamie's Kitchen (2002)
  • The Way We Cooked (2002 - 2003 - 3 programmes)
  • Ruby (16 May 2002)
  • Jim Davidson's Generation Game (2002)
  • Return to Jamie's Kitchen (2003)
  • Jamie's School Dinners (2005)
  • Jamie's Australian Diary (2006)
  • Jamie at Home (2007)
  • Jamie At Home Christmas Special (2007)
  • Iron Chef America - Served as one of Jamie Oliver's sous chefs during his battle with Mario Batali (2007)
  • Cooking the Books (2008)
  • Jamie Cooks.... Christmas (2008)
  • Oliver's Twist (2009)
  • Jamie's Family Christmas (2009)
  • Rachel Allen: Home Cooking (30 January 2010)
  • Jamie Does (2010)
  • Fern (April 2011)
  • Two Greedy Italians (2011) with Antonio Carluccio
  • Jamie Cooks Summer (2011)
  • Jamie's Christmas Lock-In (2011)
  • Jamie & Jimmy's Food Fight Club - Episode 3 (2012)
  • Two Greedy Italians: Still Hungry (2012) with Antonio Carluccio
  • Food and Drink (2014)
  • Jamie's Comfort Food (2014)
  • Antiques Road Trip (2016)
  • Jamie Cooks Italy (2018)

Radio Appearances[edit]

  • Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4) 13 September 2004


  • Passione (2003)
  • Gennaro's Italian Year (2006)
  • Gennaro's Italian Home Cooking (2008)
  • Gennaro's Easy Italian (2010)
  • Two Greedy Italians (2011)
  • Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy (2012)
  • Gennaro: Let's Cook Italian (2012) (Pavilion)
  • Gennaro: Slow Cook Italian (2015) (Pavilion)
  • Panetteria: Gennaro's Italian Bakery (2016) (Interlink Books)


  1. ^ "Gennaro Contaldo | Brand Ambassador | Citalia". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  2. ^ Telegraph news article, October 5, 2000
  3. ^ Telegraph news article, September 21, 2000
  4. ^ Times news article, September 17, 2004.
  5. ^ Bloomberg news article, March 25, 2009.
  6. ^ BBC news article, September 25, 2003.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^

External links[edit]