orn in Marcon, Veneto, Maurizo Mazzon knew he would be a chef from the age of eight when he would cook shellfish caught with his brother off Punta Sabbioni near Venice. Mazzon, who comes from a family of bakers, went on to realize his dream by spending 10 years working his way up through the various kitchens of Venice's great restaurants and hotels.
In November of 1985, Mazzon left Italy to serve as chef at Donatello in Tampa, Florida. Four years later, he joined Il Fornaio to open a new restaurant and bakery in Palo Alto, California, just three days after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Under Mazzon's leadership, Il Fornaio in Palo Alto won many significant awards including "Best Restaurant in Santa Clara County" from San Francisco Focus Magazine three years in a row.
In 1992, Maurizio accepted the challenging assignment
to open Il Fornaio's most expansive project to date, at the
newly restored Hotel Sainte Claire in San Jose. As Chef-
Partner, Mazzon oversaw the restaurant, retail, private dining,
room service and catering for this centerpiece of San Jose's
downtown renaissance. Because of his leadership in Palo Alto
and San Jose, Mazzon was promoted to Executive Chef of
Il Fornaio, responsible for every kitchen, recipe and ingredient
used at Il Fornaio.
azzon was the culinary leader in the 1999 opening of Canaletto Ristorante Veneto at The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This authentic Venetian restaurant was Maurizio's realization of a lifelong dream: create a world-class dining destination here in the U.S. that would honor the kitchens where he honed his craft. Mazzon's menu presents traditional foods of the "Tre Venezie" area of northeastern Italy, complemented by
the wines of this less heralded part of the country. Situated at the heart of The Venetian's recreation of St. Mark's Square, Canaletto quickly became one of Il Fornaio's most successful restaurants and is today among the highest volume Italian restaurants in the world.
The second Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, located at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California, opened in 2008 with Maurizio at the helm. His original vision, to offer the most complete Veneto dining experience in the country, was achieved. Guests can expect to experience five-star tableside service in breathtaking Venetian interior decor and spectacular private dining rooms as well as year-round outdoor dining. Highlights from the menu created by Maurizio include freshly baked breads, sliced-at-the-moment cured meats, an extensive fresh fish selection, pasta made fresh daily and a selection of risotti unique to Canaletto.
In 2002, Mazzon wrote the Il Fornaio Pasta Book, a personal collection of his favorite pasta recipes. From Piemonte in the north to Calabria at the tip of the boot, Mazzon has gathered preparations from all twenty regions of Italy. Beyond the recipes and personal history, the Il Fornaio Pasta Book also contains a pasta glossary and source guide for hard-to-find authentic Italian ingredients as well as Mazzon's collection of Italian proverbs that any cook will appreciate. It can be purchased through our website at ilfornaio.com.
Today, as Executive Chef of Il Fornaio, Mazzon oversees all menu development, new concept development and the company's 22 kitchens. He directs Festa Regionale, Il Fornaio's ongoing exploration of the distinct cuisines of Italy's 20 different regions. It is a challenging endeavor to coordinate the changing of menus every month at two dozen restaurants, often with ingredients and wines unavailable elsewhere in the U.S. But that's Maurizio, who perhaps sums it up best himself, "La cucina del popolo e la sola esatta testimonianza della civilita," meaning: "The only true sign of a civilization is its culinary heritage."