BERKELEY (KCBS) – Meet Chefs Donato Scotti and Gianluca Guglielmi, the culinary brains behind Berkeley’s “Donato & Co” where rustic, authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist is served in a comfortable, convivial setting.
Chef Scotti grew up in a small town near Bergamo, Italy, where he studied at the Instituto Alberghiero di San Pellegrino culinary school and learned his craft in various Michelin-starred restaurants in Bergamo. He then moved to the United States at the age of 21 and held positions of increasing responsibility at such restaurants as the legendary Valentino in Los Angeles and Il Fornaio in the Bay Area. In 2004, Scotti designed and opened La Strada in Palo Alto, before establishing Donato Enoteca in Redwood City in 2009, then Desco in Old Oakland in 2013, and CRU in November 2016. He met Chef Guglielmi in 1999, beginning a longtime friendship and collaborative cooking partnership. Donato & Co. is the first of several restaurant concepts that the two expect to create together.
Chef Guglielmi grew up in Vicenza, Italy, surrounded by a family of chefs, and began working at his family’s gastronomia at the age of 13. He attended Italy’s famous culinary school, Recoaro Terme, then worked at a succession of highly regarded Michelin-starred Italian restaurants. In 1993, he opened his own wine bar and gastronomia, Il Vicolo. When he moved to the Bay Area in 1998, he became executive chef, food research and development, and vice president at A.G. Ferrari Foods. He returned to Italy in 2010 and opened Ristorante La Berlera in Riva del Garda where he worked side by side with his wife and son.
You will be happy you did.
Donato & Co. is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30am to 9:30pm, Fridays from 11:30am to 10:00pm, Saturdays from 10:00am to 10:00pm and on Sundays from 10:00am to 9:00pm.
The restaurant is located at 2635 Ashby Avenue in Berkeley. It’s there I met the Chefs recently for our Foodie Chap chat. I also played sous chef, making one of their famous pizzelles with burrata & sun dried tomatoes. The recipe for this delish snack is below.
Enjoy the conversation with two brilliant Italian chefs, united in bringing an authentic taste of their homeland to Berkeley’s downtown.
Donato & Co.’s Pizzelle Fritte Napoletane
- 2 cups cold water
- 1/3 teaspoon dry yeast
- 6 1/2 cups flour (type “0”)
- ¾ tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Oil for deep frying
Dissolve yeast in the water.
Transfer yeast-water mixture to a mixing bowl and slowly add the flour. Using the hook attachment on a stand mixer, knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes or until you get a smooth texture. Add sea salt and water and incorporate well into dough.
Cover the dough with a damp towel and let proof for 4 to 5 hours at room temperature.
Punch down the dough and divide into small pieces about the size of a dinner roll. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then place on a sheet pan dusted with flour. Dust the top with flour and cover with a dry towel.
Proof for 2 hours at room temperature.
In a large skillet, heat oil to 350° F.
Using both hands, stretch the pizzelle dough to 4 to 5 inches, keeping a round shape, then place them in the hot oil and fry 60 to 90 seconds on both sides, until lightly golden brown. Top as you wish.
- Mozzarella, anchovies, chili pepper
- Broccoli rabe, pecorino cheese
- Chopped tomatoes, burrata cheese
- Sautéed sausage, provolone cheese
- Braised chard, roasted pancetta
Bake the pizzelle in a 350° F oven for a few minutes—just enough to heat the toppings and melt the cheese.
For more information, visit:
Donato & Co.
2635 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA, 94705