About Chef Cesare Casella

Cesare Casella is best known as the chef with the rosemary. He is rarely without a small bouquet springing from his pocket, a signature that reflects his dedication to fresh ingredients and his childhood in the Tuscan countryside where rosemary grew wild, and his family ran a small trattoria, called Vipore, outside of Lucca.

But Chef Casella is not just an herb man. When he was growing up in Vipore, one of Chef Casella’s jobs was helping make the country-cured meats the restaurant was famous for. As a boy, that meant caring for his family’s pigs, a long succession of boars he always called Mimmo; and when he got a little older, it meant helping the norcini, the old-school butchers who traveled from farmer to farmer each winter, prepare the prosciutti. Casella spiced, rubbed and hung the hams, and after the norcini were gone, he turned and cared for them as they aged. Sometimes he talked to the prosciutti, recalling their days as Mimmo.

Today, Casella is still prosciutto-whispering, coaxing rich, nutty flavors from pork thighs, and producing Italian ham in the style of the old norcini. The only difference is that now he is plying his craft in the U.S., through Casella’s Prosciutto Speciale, his critically acclaimed line of prosciutto, which has just won the 2020 Good Food Award for charcuterie.

He shares his food knowledge with others at the International Culinary Center, where he is the Dean of Italian Studies; at The Center for Discovery, a residential facility for people with medical frailties, where he works to raise awareness about healthy eating as the Chief of The Department of Nourishment Arts®; and as the honorary president of the Associazione Italiana Chef, a culinary trade group dedicated to promoting Italian food around the world.  

Chef Casella has compiled his recipes into multiple cookbooks. He is the author award-winning the  Feeding the Heart, the James Beard Foundation Award-nominee, The Fundamentals of Classic Italian Cuisine , True Tuscan , Italian Cooking for Dummies , and Diary of a Tuscan Chef. Casella also contributed to the English edition of Food Editore’s Gusto, an encyclopedia of Italian food and ingredients.

Casella was voted one of the best chefs in New York City by Food & Wine magazine, and has appeared on hit shows such as “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef,” “Master Chef Australia,” “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” No Reservations,” “Food Porn,” and “After Hours with Daniel Boulud.” He appears regularly in a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Men’s Health, Grub street, Eater and SeriousEats. 

You can follow Casella online on Facebook, Twitter (twitter.com/chefcasella), and Instagram.