Guest Chefs > Lorenzo Polegro

Lorenzo Polegro

Born in Rome, Chef Lorenzo Polegri is a man of varied interests. He graduated first from a technical institute, then from a university with a focus on modern languages and literature, but it was his work on his family's farm that inspired him to pursue the study of the historical agriculture and cuisine of the land. In 1987, he became a manager of the Coldiretti, an important farmers' trade union, and kept this title for six years while he competed as a bodybuilder and studied the nutritional needs of athletes.

By the age of 14, Margherita knew she wanted to cook professionally. She left home to train at the Culinary Institute at the Castle of Barolo in the wine country of Piedmont. In 1989, she made her way to New York, where she started out as the fresh pasta maker at Le Madri. Nine years later, after time as market chef at Mad 61 and Tuscan Square, she returned to Le Madri as executive chef.

Lorenzo opened his first restaurant, called Funky, in 1990 in Orvieto. He spent the next few years establishing relationships with different types of Italian restaurants in the eastern United States and opened Wunderbar in 1993. In 1995, he opened Zeppelin, also in Orvieto, and then spent some time traveling in Antigua and throughout the West Indies to study Creole cuisine. He began to teach cooking workshops, which took him to Houston, Texas and Aspen, Colorado. In 2000, Lorenzo participated in the production of food documentaries in both New York and Vancouver; later that year, he and his wife Eleonora founded the Istituto di Arte Culinaria "Marchesa Adele Viti," a culinary school dedicated to the chef's great-grandmother, who authored precious recipe manuscripts at the end of the 19th century. Lorenzo had the honor of being named leading chef of the "Italian Food Festival" at the United Nations headquarters in New York in the spring of 2001, and there he taught students of the Culinary Institute of America and the New School.

That same year, he appeared in several print and television media outlets, including "La Nazione" and RAI International. In 2002, the Zeppelin restaurant received an excellent review in the prestigious Gambero Rosso Ristoranti d'Italia guide, and the "Marchesa Adele Viti" institute received sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Lorenzo then began a busy schedule of instructing culinary classes for large American and Australian tour operators. Since then, he has begun a collaboration with American painters to experiment with sensorial cooking and painting courses, while continuing to teach workshops and make magazine and television appearances.

Check our Calendar to find out about Chef's Night Demos
Browse the Store for specialty foods, olive oils, cookbooks, gifts and more.