Gennaro Contaldo, (20 January 1949) is an Italian chef and restaurateur, known for his association with his British protégé, Jamie Oliver, and his partnership with fellow Italian chef Antonio Carluccio and their BBC Two television series Two Greedy Italians. Contaldo is the brand ambassador for the luxury Italian holiday specialist Citalia.
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.
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.
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. 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.
In 2011 he toured the Italian regions alongside Antonio Carluccio in a four-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”.
Contaldo 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 three-egg omelette. In 2014 he was also awarded a Guinness World Record for the most ravioli made in two minutes.
Since 2010, when he founded it, Contaldo has uploaded regularly on his YouTube channel. He also often appears on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel. As of 28 May 2019, Contaldo’s channel has received 26,119,052 views and he has 455,198 subscribers.