THE CHEF

Italian “Old World” Hertiage

Giancarlo Cucumo was born in Bari, Italy; a mediterranean region of the country renowned for it’s “lean cuisine” style (vegetables, olive oil, seafood). Bordering the Adriadic Sea, where the water meets the land, Giancarlo grew up in the Kitchen, working with many talented Italian Chefs until he was 14 years old. The ample produce and excellent seafood available in the region gave rise to many of the world’s finest Seafood Chefs and it was under these masters that Giancarlo established his passion for fine foods.

To build his skills, Giancarlo attended the Aldo Perotti Chef Hotels, an Italian culinary school emphasizing study on international cuisine. There he learned much from his professors and the influential recipes found in the Henri-Paul Pellaprat Cook Book. When school would break for summer, Giancarlo traveled to Tuscany to learn Northern Italian cooking styles and recipes. Giancarlo’s outstanding performance earned him kudos at the institution and the privilege to study as an apprentice under a host of master Chefs in Germany, France, Holland, Australia, and other places throughout Europe. After honing his craft and earning a degree from the prestigious culinary academy, Giancarlo took a bold step toward his dreams of becoming a master Chef, and moved to America.

Coming to America

In 1988 Giancarlo crossed the Atlantic, eventually making it to San Francisco. California produce was among the best in the world, and the restaurants in the area were known for world class food, presentation, and service. He knew San Francisco would be his greatest challenge yet, but this only fueled his naturally competitive spirit. His true talent began to emerge while working for popular locations such as Cafe Roma, Cafe Sport, Spectrum Food Company, Il Fornaio, and Martinellis. Giancarlo’s skill, positive attitude, and charismatic personality attracted the likes of industry leaders eventually landing him a management position for a large corporation where he operated a massive commercial kitchen operation. But, his heart pulled him in another direction.

Giancarlo always wanted to make a place where people can feel like family together; a place where he could free his creative potential and not be confined to corporate politics. Thus, he took his greatest gamble yet, and launched his own restaurant in San Francisco, “Grazie”. Grazie was an instant success and Giancarlos ran the restaurant for years as his reputation grew throughout the Bay Area.

For a change of scenery Giancarlo moved to Morgan Hill, Ca. There he opened another restaurant, “Casa Mia”, which translates to “my house” in Italian. Again, Giancarlo’s restaurant attracted media attention earning a notorious award for Best Restaurant in Silicon Valley several years in a row. His success continued to soar as he was named head of major events like the popular Garlic Festival, and appeared as the guest chef on cable TV cooking shows.

Eventually, Giancarlo had enough of the lime light and decided to move onto another project under his own name, so he opened the very first “Giancarlos” restaurant. For over 12 years Giancarlo’s thrived. Due to overwhelming popularity, Giancarlos sought to expand the business and open another restaurant in San Diego. However, on his way down the California Coast, Giancarlo made a quick stop over in a little coastal town called Morro Bay…, and he never left.

Giancarlo Discovers the Central Coast

In 2003, Giancarlo found salvation on the Central Coast. Morro Bay felt like home to Giancarlo with the Mediterranean climate, abundant seafood, and fresh produce. The connection was obvious so he abandoned his original plan to open a restaurant in San Diego and starting looking for a location on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero. A month later, he opened Giancarlo’s Bay Front Bistro and after only 2 years, he outgrew the waterfront location.

Giancarlo had always dreamed of building his own restaurant from the ground up, and felt like this was the perfect opportunity.

He envisioned an Open Kitchen where Giancarlo, International Chef Extraordinaire, is the star of his own cooking show, and his customers are the audience. He wanted guests to have the opportunity to sit at the bar overlooking the open kitchen and engage conversation with the cooks. He envisioned his guests participating with him as he creates his original internationally inspired dishes. With help of Hollywood expat and business partner Markus Schaub, (pictured right with Giancarlo) Giancarlos was able to make the idea for his family style restaurant a reality.

It’s been a lifelong dream for Giancarlo to share his culinary talents with his community. To give people an opportunity to share food together, and stories too. Come in to see Giancarlo and his talanted team put on a show for you and your guests. Experience Giancarlos Ristorante Italiano Mediterraneo.