Cooking is truly a lifetime passion for culinary artist Fabrizio Bazzani, Executive Chef at Chianti Il Ristorante. He was born in Isola della Scala, Italy, and grew up between Bovolone and Bardolino, where he spent most of his time in the kitchen with his Mamma Mara and Grandma Afra as they cooked homemade meals every day. As a child, Fabrizio came to cultivate the idea that cooking is an expression of love.
“I discovered a magnetic attraction to food at a young age. My family has always considered food as a primary activity, a need… not just for gatherings, but also for pleasure,” Fabrizio says of his beginnings.
Despite his obvious affinity for food, Fabrizio studied business, language, and economics in Italy before finally deciding to pursue his true calling. After working at several restaurants in Florence, Fabrizio moved to Southern California to continue cooking. It was at restaurants such as Prego and Tuttomare that Fabrizio began to develop his unique style with the guidance of chefs Alberto Morello, Marcello Apollonio, and Enrique Perez.
“I have never been afraid of traveling and I think it’s the second most important characteristic of a chef. People make the food and food makes the history of people. I enjoy learning about how food has developed over time and how discoveries in all fields have reshaped the ways food is presented,” he describes his cross continental cooking experiences.
While living and cooking on the West Coast he met David Zecchini in 1998. Soon after, David invited Fabrizio and his family to travel to Saratoga Springs. After visiting upstate New York, a place that reminded him of his hometown, Fabrizio decided Saratoga Springs would make a good nesting place for him and his family, as well as provide a challenge and adventure for his culinary career. “It was a good relationship from the start,” Fabrizio said of his connection with David.
Fabrizio joined the team at Chianti Il Ristorante, where he remains to this day. Fabrizio views his position as a great responsibility and honor to use his skills to trigger guests’ sensory experiences. He describes cooking as an exercise of equilibrium; a delicate balance of the flavors, visual arrangement of colors and shapes, and the extensive research required in finding the perfect ingredient.
Although far from where he originally started, Fabrizio still attributes the Italian traditions of meticulous food preparation and learning the science behind food to be the base of his success as a chef.