Zafferano & Co. Friends: Chef Angelo Sessa
Angelo Sessa was born into the restaurant business in Naples as his mother owned a restaurant and his father was a butcher. He found trouble in school as this was not his path so he determined his own way in life at the age of 9. He began working with his father in the butcher shop on the weekends then shortly left the typical boyhood life and worked as a dishwasher in his uncles pizzeria during the week. He built his career at his well respected uncle’s Pizzeria. His uncle, Zio Antonio, a well respected restaurateur, took Sessa under his wing alongside Sessa’s cousin and taught the young men the culinary arts.
Later, his cousin, Enzo Coccia became one of the best Pizza Maestros in the world.
In his typical self determined fashion, Sessa found his way into the cruise line circuit beginning as a busboy and working his way up. After seeing the world he found his way to the U.S. at the age of 21 in 1985. As soon as he landed in NYC he met his wife and set his feet in the soil working for Palio and San Domenico which were considered pioneers of Italian cuisine in NY, owned by Tony May. Afterwards he worked at La Bernadin, then Bice as a sous chef. In 1991 he became the executive chef at Chez Caesarina. Five years following he moved on to Le Madri, as executive chef, then Bella Blu. After building a breadth of experience with these endeavors he opened his own establishment, Sezz Medi. He ran his restaurant for ten years, the first authentic Napolitano Pizzeria in New York. New York real estate closed him out of his space so Sessa made the choice to become a restaurant consultant, sharing his extensive knowledge. He developed a reputation while consulting in the opening of numerous successful restaurants across the United States. This attracted Palma restaurant who requested he become their executive chef. Currently he has joined the Scotto family at Fresco with the mission to focus on the roots of authentic Italian cuisine. The Scotto family were wise and forward thinking to team up with Angelo Sessa.
A personal note from Chef Gianluca Deiana:
“What impressed me about Angelo Sessa is that he was able to keep the tradition alive 30 plus years ago in New York. At that time it was almost impossible because to find the products to create authentic dishes was very challenging. It was difficult even to find simple authentic ingredients, even as basic as tomato and pasta. What made Angelo successful for me is not just his passion for food, but the fact that everyday he fights to keep the tradition of Italian culture alive. Angelo and the chefs that came to the U.S. 30 plus years ago are not only pioneers of the Italian tradition and culture of the United States Of America, but they are heroes. They can not be compared with the chefs of today, they are the real deal. I am so happy to have met people like Angelo Sessa who showed me what a real Italian chef is…
no matter where you are.
Company - Restaurant: Fresco by Scotto
Location: New York - New York