• Puglia Culinary Centre Founding Director Chef Odette Fada

    Odette Fada grew up in Brescia, 90 miles from Milan. She always knew she wanted to be a chef and, as a child, made pasta and risotto with vegetables from the garden for her five brothers and sisters. After graduating from the prestigious culinary school, the Instituto Professionale Alberghiero at Iseo Lake in Lombardy, she opened her first restaurant – a trattoria in Brescia with her brother, before working at some of Italy’s best restaurants: Ristorante Castello Malvezzi in Brescia, Ristorante Vissani in Baschi and Convivio Vissani in Rome.

    While the chef de cuisine at Convivio Vissani she met the late Italian restaurateur Mauro Vincenti, whose Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles was one of the most famous and innovative Italian restaurants in America.  Vincenti was so impressed, he asked her to come to California to work for him.  For the next five years her refined regional cooking earned Rex accolades from both customers and the media. She was awarded the Los Angeles Times’ highest rating and cooked for the Grammy Awards three years in a row.

    I’m excited to be part of this project at Castello di Ugento and I can’t wait to pass on my enthusiasm for this land and for its cuisine to our international students and guests.


    In 1996, she joined Tony May at the most famous Italian restaurant in New York, San Domenico NY as the Executive Chef and garnered culinary acclaim. She was named one of the best Italian Chefs by Wine Spectator and won the White Truffle Competition in 1998.  When San Domenico NY closed in June 2008, she went on to run the culinary operations for San Domenico Events, a full-service catering company.

    In September 2009, she returned as Executive Chef to SD26, on Madison Square Park, then from May 2010 -2016 she worked as consulting chef for two of the major Italian pasta companies and for  restaurants in NYC. In 2016 she was appointed Castello di Ugento’s House Chef and Director of the Puglia Culinary Centre.

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