San Diego Celebrity Chefs
Il Fornaio Coronado
Giorgio Lo Verde was born in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and raised with five brothers and one sister – all of them cook. “It’s what Sicilians do. We don’t just eat; we also enjoy cooking food and shopping for it … preparation is just as important as the meal itself. Almost all boys and girls in Sicily grow up spending time in the kitchen.”
Giorgio’s mother, Maria, and grandmother, Adele, were his first cooking teachers and instilled in him a sense of culinary adventure. “We learned to try all kinds of foods and ingredients – especially seafood and fresh vegetables; that’s mostly what we ate in Palermo. How can you say you don’t like octopus if you haven’t tried it?” In addition to cooking daily meals, Giorgio’s mom spent countless hours canning and preserving seasonal fruits and vegetables for the family to enjoy during winter, when fresh produce wasn’t available. “My mother, brothers, sister and I spent a lot of time up-to-our-arms in tomatoes.”
His career has taken Giorgio from culinary school in Palermo to restaurants in Toronto, California’s San Joaquin Valley and San Diego, but his roots remain firmly in Sicily.