Maurizio Mazzon, Il Fornaio’s multi-talented Venetian-born executive chef brings his 25 years of culinary experience to every kitchen, every recipe and every menu served at Il Fornaio, breakfast, lunch and dinner. He also leads the company’s wine program and, coming from a family of bakers, is always coming up with new bread ideas inspired by the traditions of Italy’s twenty regions.
Born in Marcon, Veneto, Mazzon knew he would be a chef from the age of eight when he would cook shellfish caught with his brother off Punta Sabbaioni near Venice. Mazzon, pursued his dream of becoming a chef by enrolling at
’s prestigious Northern Italy Hotel Institute outside of Italy and, upon graduation, his first job was cooking in the Italian Marines. Though he began as a cook for the enlisted men, the officers began sneaking into their tent for Mazzon’s food and it wasn’t long before he was promoted to the officer’s kitchen. Venice
Returning to Venice after his stint in the Marines, Mazzon worked under Executive Chef Claudio de Zotto at all’Angelo, the largest restaurant in the city, seating 750. He also perfected his
catering skills moonlighting at the legendary Harry Cipriani, preparing banquets for notables such as Henry Kissinger, Italian President Sandro Pertini, and Pope John Paul II.
In November 1985, Mazzon moved to the United States to serve as chef at Donatello in Tampa, Florida. Four years later, Mazzon joined Il Fornaio to open a new restaurant and bakery in Palo Alto, California, just three days after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Under Mazzon’s leadership, Il Fornaio in Palo Alto won several awards including “Best Restaurant in Santa Clara County” by San Francisco Focus Magazine.
After three years at Il Fornaio Palo Alto, he led the opening of Il Fornaio in San Jose, the company’s most ambitious project at that time. He was promoted to “Gypsy Chef” two years later where his responsibilities included traveling to each of Il Fornaio’s 22 kitchens to work with each chef.
Today, as Vice President and Executive Chef of Il Fornaio, Mazzon leads regular Giro di Cuochi or “Chef Tours” of Italy; directs Festa Regionale, Il Fornaio’s ongoing menu exploration of the distinct cuisines of Italy’s 20 different regions; and oversees new menu development, new concept development. His presence can be felt in each of the company’s 22 kitchens. He is also responsible for purchasing for the entire company, which is no small task. Few restaurant groups in the US import as much for Italy as Il Fornaio.
In 2002, Mazzon poured a lifetime of studying various regional differences in
onto the pages of his best-selling cookbook, The Il Fornaio Pasta Book: Authentic Recipes Celebrating Italy’s Regional Pasta Dishes from Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Italy
Here you can find the essential food of Italy, pasta, explained in a manner that can be re-created in most any kitchen. It also contains s few of Maurizio’s favorite proverbs that both capture the spirit and mind of this Italian chef.