Chef Luigi Fineo


Gioia del Colle is a little town in the heart of Puglia, situated halfway between the Ionian and Adriatic seas to the east and west, and between the cities of Bari and Taranto to the north and south. Gioia del Colle means ‘jewels of the neck’, and the town was named after the legend of a Queen who, having found a cache of buried jewels in the region, had them made into a necklace. Gioia is also the birthplace of the increasingly popular Primitivo wine. Local history records a 17th century Benedictine monk finding the first vines in the gardens of his monastery (now Gioia’s Police headquarters) and later planting them in the surrounding fields. Primitivo is gaining recognition in the UK, and is already a favourite in the United States via its genetic twin Zinfandel, which is grown in California.
A native of Puglia, a southern region of Italy, Luigi Fineo’s cuisine transcends guests on a culinary journey through Italy’s majestic Mediterranean terrain. As the youngest of five growing up in the small, picturesque town of Gioia Del Colle, Luigi was schooled in selecting the finest seasonal ingredients while accompanying his mother to the local markets. At an early age, Luigi learned that the kitchen is central to the hearts and minds of all Italian families, and the seeds of his passion were sewn.

Having honed his craft at the renowned Casetellana Grotte culinary school in Puglia, Luigi travelled north to the heart of Tuscany, where he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants alongside acclaimed chefs such as Francesco Berardinelli and Karl Baumgartner.

Despite having no knowledge of the English language, Luigi voyaged to the United States in order to share his passion for traditional Italian cuisine, and the spirit of social gatherings that have taken place around kitchen tables throughout Italy for centuries.

In 2008, Luigi’s perfectionism paid off when he was bestowed with a prestigious Michelin Star award while working as Executive Chef at La Botte Ristorante in Santa Monica, CA. Luigi earned the restaurant’s first-ever Michelin Star for two consecutive years, making him the youngest chef in the USA to be anointed with this honor.

In 2010, a lifelong dream was realized when Luigi was granted the opportunity to join Thomas Keller and his team of culinary masters at the internationally acclaimed The French Laundry, in California’s Napa Valley. After two exceptional years with this team, Luigi continued his service with the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group as part of the culinary team at Bouchon Beverly Hills. Luigi next served as Chef de Cuisine at Andrea restaurant at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, CA . Here, he was awarded the highest honour of Four Stars from Forbes Travel Guide.

This experience was followed by an appointment as Executive Chef at Rivabella Ristorante, where he had the honor of working alongside eminent Italian Chef Gino Angelini.

In 2016, Luigi cofounded the Landmarks Restaurant Group and opened Osteria Venice West, located in the heart of Venice Beach. The restaurant was reminiscent of a classic Italian kitchen, with a menu featuring rustic Italian cuisine and regional wines native to Luigi’s southern Pugliese roots. In 2018, Landmarks Restaurant Group opened Luigi Al Teatro, an upscale Italian seafood restaurant. Located in a 100-year-old historic Santa Monica building, the menu feature contemporary seafood dishes reminiscent of southern Italy’s coastal cuisine.

In 2019, Luigi met Italy’s most celebrated soccer icon, Alessandro Del Piero. Their rapport was immediate, and it was immediately apparent that they shared a mutual drive for excellence, and a love of authentic Italian cuisine. Luigi was invited to take the helm at Alessandro’s West Hollywood restaurant, N10, and in the fall of 2019, they launched a revamped space (?) and a menu curated by Luigi, who now serves as the celebrity-beloved establishment’s Head Chef.