Award winning Executive Chef and Sicilian native, Massimo Mantarro was born in Piedimonte Etneo and raised in Caltabiano.
His cooking is the quintessence of Sicily, but reinvented.
His plates exalt local ingredients and traditions and are simple, elegant and decidedly local, uniting the sea, the land and the abundance of the nearby volcano Mount Etna.
Mantarro completed culinary training at a local catering school, as well as at academies in Venice and Paris.
After getting his start at a hotel in Taormina, he headed north to work in Turin, and then returned south to Campania, followed by restaurants in Palermo and Ragusa before joining San Domenico Palace under its former management.
In 2003, he made a splash opening Principe Cerami, named for the nobleman who owned the ancient San Domenico monastery when it was turned into a hotel in 1896. At his signature fine-dining restaurant guests can savour Mantarro’s contemporary reinterpretations of classic Sicilian cuisine, that combine local ingredients and traditions into deceptively simple creations.
In November 2022 Principe Cerami earned one Michelin Star Italia 2023.
“There is no innovation without tradition,” says Massimo Mantarro. “Tradition fuels my thinking in the kitchen, and I innovate through cooking technique”.
The bounty of Sicily is a key Mantarro’s creativity, and he treats each ingredient with respect. He likes to surprise his guests, playing off seasonality with originality and pointing to unexpected pairings, such freshly foraged herbs combined with antique legumes.
Mantarro has worked to build an intricate web of suppliers throughout Sicily and mainland Italy over the past decade, always driven by his desire to offer international clients true tastes of the region: “I have found that every producer has their own story to tell. I think the wealth of offerings here is incredible.”