Giuseppe Gentile, a native of Bari in Puglia, Italy, on the country’s Adriatic Coast, has been in the kitchen since he was thirteen years old, apprenticing at Pizzeria del Corso in Alberobello. He began culinary school at fifteen in Castellana Grotte and during the five year program worked at many restaurants including Ristorante Pizzeria Gli Ulivi, furthering his knowledge of pizza and learning regional antipasti and pasta dishes. He also spent a summer internship at one of Germany’s top Italian restaurants, Di Gennaro, where he worked for another year after graduating.Gentile was called to serve in the Italian Armed Forces in Verona, where he was assigned to teach 20 inexperienced recruits how to cook for a regiment of 2000. He immersed himself in the dishes typical of the Veneto region. Upon his release he began working in the antipasti operation at the Grand Hotel di Rimini in Emilia Romagna, the highly celebrated culinary center of Italy. Gentile next accepted a position at the celebrated restaurant Girasoli, working alongside Chef Antonio Palmisani for three years at every station including fish, breads, handmade pasta, meats and desserts and catering every type of event from small parties to weddings and events up to five thousand guests.
In 2004 Gentile was offered a chance to work at Vincenti Ristorante alongside Nicolo Mastronardi who pushed him to advance even further as a chef with his painstaking attention to fine details and his very strategic organization and execution in every part of a working kitchen. After four years at Vincenti he returned to Italy to help a friend open a new restaurant, a pizzeria to be called La Capannina in Riccione, becoming part of a group of experienced pizza chefs experimenting to create the newest and best dough recipes for the restaurant. He was involved in every decision from conception to opening day including menu selection, building wine lists, décor, and every other detail necessary to get the restaurant up and running. La Capannina quickly became, and continues to be, a success. Gentile’s passion is strongest for the traditional style of pizza made in Bari, a passion shared by Mastronardi. Gentile will be overseeing the daily kitchen operations at il Fico.
Nicola Mastronardi is also native of Bari. He began his culinary career in the kitchens of the region before relocating to the United States in 1992 and the kitchen of the famed Rex il Ristorante, Mauro and Maureen Vincenti’s award winning fine dining Italian restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. After Vincenti’s death in 1996 his widow relocated to Brentwood and opened Vincenti Ristorante in his honor. Mastronardi has been running the kitchen ever since. Mastronardi has wanted a pizzeria for many years. With his current partners he is now embarking on this new venture with the same confidence and execution that hallmarks his work.
John Tierney’s interest in food and hospitality began during his studies in Florence while he worked towards his degree in Italian Language and Literature from Stanford University. During the summer months of his undergraduate years he worked at several restaurants on the resort island of Nantucket, where he spent summers with his family since childhood. When he returned to California he began as a waiter in the Manhattan Beach landmark The Kettle, eventually elevated to Manager within six months. He left The Kettle to earn his J.D. from Boston College, and returned to Los Angeles to practice law in Santa Monica. Quickly realizing his interests lay elsewhere, he took over the Maitre d’ and General Manager position at Hollywood’s well regarded Restaurant Muse in 1992, ten years into its run. Michelle Huneven, in LA Weekly, writes “Muse being the trenchantly, quietly, eternally in restaurant on Beverly Boulevard…(with) its high walls, exposed truss and general upscale glamour”. The celebrity favorite was the site of such events as Creative Artists Agency annual Golden Globe After Party, Greg Gorman’s book launching party, and the location of numerous film and television shoots including the Oscar winning “Leaving Las Vegas” and Emmy winning “Sex & the City” and “thirtysomething”. In 2015, John became a Silver Pin Certified Sommelier, awarded by the North American Sommelier Association.