Final Five - MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 Danilo Cortellini

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2015

Let's meet MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 finalist Danilo Cortellini hoping to impress Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti to be in with a chance of taking this year's title.

daniloName: Danilo Cortellini

Region: London (Italy originally)

Age: 30 (29 at time of filming)

Profession: Head Chef

Personal: In a relationship

Cooking Background: “I grew up in Abruzzo, a little region in Italy, in a town sandwiched between the sea and the mountains called Alba Adriatica. Everything there was amazing, and don’t even get me started on the food! I went to culinary school in San Benedetto del Tronto in Italy, and later spent time working at Michelin starred restaurants San Domenico in Imola, and Perbellini in Isola Rizza.

“I have always looked at chefs with an appreciation. I literally grew up around the kitchen tables of my mother and grandmother. My mother always made fresh pastries, and my grandmother was always working pasta dough with the rolling pin, which easily lead me into a life as a chef. “I was always comforted by my family’s cooking, and I’d like to think that I am able to recreate that comfort feeling for others with my food as well.masterchef quote danilo

“I moved to London in January 2010, when I was a young chef craving new experiences. I fell in love with the city and never looked back, working at Dolada in Mayfair, then an internship with three-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, and on to Zafferano in Knightsbridge until 2012.

Cooking Influences: “As an Italian chef, of course I love everything about pasta-making, risottos, and all the lovely things we have in Italy. That being said, I love almost everything, from seafood to meat, and desserts.

“The delicious home-style cooking of my mother and family has influenced me a great deal, but I like to think that I’ve picked up lessons from every great chef I’ve worked with, and my training isn’t finished yet.

“The years I spent at two Michelin starred San Domenico in Imola were invaluable. There they taught me that every goal is achievable working hard as a team in a kitchen brigade.

On MasterChef: “I entered MasterChef: The Professionals to challenge myself, and to see if I’m good enough to compete with top chefs. I also want to prove that there’s more to Italian cuisine than a bowl of pasta – although that is something I love from the bottom of my heart! “It’s an amazing feeling to make it to Final Week. It’s so unexpected, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.. The competition has been hard and stressful, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Having watched the programme for many years – you have no idea how tough it is in real life!

masterchef quote danilo 2“I’m very proud of myself for making it this far, and I’m going to fight for my place in the competition.

“Cooking for the Critics wasn’t easy, but working in Tom Kitchin’s kitchen during the Semi Finals was without a doubt the hardest for me. There were a lot of covers, it’s a very hot kitchen; it was incredible pressure.

Cooking ambitions: “Honestly, I’m still not sure what my final ambition is, although I’m not going to lie, it would be nice to have a restaurant with my name on it one day!

“At the moment, I’m very proud to be holding the position of head chef at the Italian Embassy. I’m trying to build a name for myself within the restaurant industry, in the hope it will open more doors for me in the future”

>>> Read more about MasterChef: The Professionals 2015

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2015

Final Five - MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 Danilo Cortellini