Most often recognized as one of the Champions on season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” Chef Tony Mantuano is also internationally regarded as an influential culinary force. He is Chef/Partner at Spiaggia, the only four-star Italian restaurant in Chicago, and was awarded the 2005 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Midwest.
Mantuano’s love for creating exciting restaurant concepts has given way to other ventures. He is owner of Mangia Trattoria, a classic Italian restaurant in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisc. and is the Chef/Partner at Terzo Piano, an Italian inspired restaurant that utilizes fresh, local, organic and sustainably produced ingredients to create seasonal menus at The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. In November 2011 he opened Bar Toma, a long-time dream to create an Italian neighborhood pizzeria and bar, featuring wood-fired pizzas, an espresso bar, a gelateria, with a wide selection of Italian beers and wines. Up next for Mantuano includes the opening of Bar Lorenzo, a casual, elegant Italian restaurant located on Miami’s South Beach in late summer 2013.
Mantuano’s first cookbook The Spiaggia Cookbook was lauded by Food & Wine magazine as one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2004. In 2008 Mantuano co-authored “Wine Bar Food” with wine expert and wife Cathy Mantuano, which has been the inspiration for WINE BAR FOOD outposts at the 2008-2012 US Open Tennis Championships in New York.
Mantuano has made numerous television appearances including “Nightline”, “The Today Show”, “The Early Show” and “Martha” and has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, La Cucina Italiana, Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator, among others.
In addition to his 2005 honor, Mantuano’s Spiaggia has also received James Beard Foundation nominations for Outstanding Restaurant in America in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2013 and for Outstanding Service in 2008, 2009, 2012. In September 2012 he was named part of the American Chef Corps and a 2012 State Chef by the U.S. Department of State and its new Culinary Diplomatic Partnership program. However, his favorite award was presented in April 2009, when he and Cathy Mantuano were honored with the keys to San Martino in the Italian region of Molise for serving authentic Italian cuisine in America and in particular to President Barack Obama, a long-time Spiaggia guest who celebrated his presidential election victory at Spiaggia in 2008.
Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyMantuano