Executive Chef at the Italian Embassy
Originally from Abruzzo, a small region of Italy that is rich in culinary tradition, Danilo Cortellini’s destiny to become a chef was already decided. Inspired by the landscapes and memories of his hometown; a place that stood next to the highest mountain in central Italy, Gran Sasso, the Adriatic coastline, and a thriving farm industry, the ingredients of Danilo’s first experiences in the kitchen were always fresh, abundant and seasonal.
Early memories of cooking hark back to running around the kitchen with his brothers and hiding under the table as his grandmother made fresh pasta, complaining about their noise. Soon, mealtimes became synonymous with family, sharing, and bringing people together, something that turned into the driving force behind Danilo’s pursuit into the culinary world.
Before arriving in London in 2010, Danilo travelled throughout Italy gaining experience with industry icons such as Giovanni Rana and at two Michelin-starred restaurants San Domenico in Imola and Perbellini in Isola Rizza. While in London, Danilo jumped straight into challenging roles at three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and Knightsbridge’s Zafferano before being offered the position of Head Chef at the Italian Embassy in London.
A step away from the plight of Michelin stars, cooking at the embassy allowed Danilo to get back to his roots where food was about trying to recreate a sense of comfort and home: the very essence of what had sculpted his early aspirations. Cooking for events at the embassy that ranged from intimate dinners for the Ambassador and his wife to large galas, Danilo’s ability to balance professionalism and etiquette with his own warmth and personal touch encouraged him to take part in MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 fighting his way to the top and ranking as one of the finalists.
More recently, Danilo has successfully opened his eponymous catering company and has set up a food, drink and restaurant consultancy as well as publishing his first cookbook, 4 GROSVENOR SQUARE, THE MENU OF THE ITALIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON, both in English and Italian.