About "The Bald Chef"

My full name is Nino Vitanza, I was born in Capo d`Orlando, near Messina, Sicily. My languages including Italian, English, fluent French, and Spanish.

Born in august 1955, in Capo d`Orlando, the third son of four children. Together with my father and my mother, we lived in a small one-bedroom house, without a bathroom or toilet, with a rudimentary kitchen and a stable attached to the house. My father was a farmer, and my mother a housewife, my childhood was spent playing with my friends in the lemon and orange garden which was at the back of the house. I did not like very much going to school, and many times, my friends and I would hide our schoolbooks and go instead to the beautiful beaches in Capo d`Orlando.

My working life, started for me at the tender age of 12 years old. Having finished my elementary school in 1967, I met, in town, a friend of the family. He asked if I would like to go work at is brothers bar in Rome. It was a shock for me, as I had to ask, "Where is Rome?" I went home and told my mother that I was going to Rome. My mother went crazy; of course, I was only 12 years old. For days I kept pestering my parents to let me go. In the end I won. I was going to the capital of Italy. I said my farewells to my family at the station. They put me on the train and I travelled for nine hours alone. In Rome there was the family friend waiting for me.

We travelled to his home by car and I remember I felt sick. It was a gray day and I felt like a fish out of the water; in only nine hours I had gone from a small fishing village to one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in the world.

The following day we travelled to Monte Mario la Balduina where I met with my friend's brother and his family. I spent the next two years living with the family , delivering milk in the mornings and working in the bar in the afternoons.

In 1969, after two years in Rome I was missing my family so much that I had to come back to my roots in Capo d'Orlando. I started working at the Patisserie Foti, the best at that time. It was here that I started to learn the wonderful world of cooking!!!

For three months in 1972 I went to work and study, patisserie in Geneva old town. I attended the school of cake decoration and learned how to make chocolate pralines.

Back in Sicily, I joined the Patisserie Scandaliato in Messina. Signor Scandaliato had invented the Bianco e` Nero (black and white) a special profiterole. they also taught me the recipe.

Later in the year I moved to Milan serving and cooking at the Hotel Metanopoli, San Donato Milanese, What happened next would change my life!!! I met my hero, the singer and actor, Adriano Celentano.

My meeting with Adriano Celentano in 1973 was important for the reason that ever since I was a little boy I wanted to be an actor, and signor Celentano told me that to be an actor in Italy you should be speaking English. After three months studying at the British school of Milan, I decided to go to London. I went to work as a chef de rang in Rimini, at the hotel Punta Nord ,to make the money for the trip.

On the 4th October 1974 I arrived in England. On the 5th October I started working as commis waiter at the Savoy hotel. After only two months I was promoted to chef de rang where I served and cooked at the table for royalty, presidents and film stars. I earned a recommendation from the hotel ("Mr. Vitanza give satisfaction and is recommended"). The last three months I was at the hotel were spent as a trainee sommelier.

I returned to Italy in 1976 for national service in the Italian army and immediately I became the head chef for the officers' mess cooking for 80 officers. When the marshal of the troops mess fell ill, I was asked to take over the kitchen and cook for 1,400 servicemen, with a brigade of seven totally untrained cooks.

In 1977 I returned to England and worked as a chef de rang at the Viking hotel in York

In 1978 I was asked to come down to London by tour operator, Spanish-speaking services. I worked for them as an Italian courier for six months.

In 1978 I joined Canal Publications Who produce a guide to London in five languages. I worked with them for over five years, looking after the advertising and distribution.

In 1983 I started EnneVi Sales Promotions at all times working with top chefs, f&b managers and sommeliers in the catering industry. Specialising in quality food products, the range included, Neuhas Belgian chocolates, fine wine and Illy Italian coffee.

In 2001 I launched www.thebaldchef.com in order to bring to the world over thirty years of experience in cooking and preparing delicious food.

May2002 I took over the juice bar&cafe' at Holmes Place/Virgin Active health club in Borehamwood Herts, where for over five years I was cooking and preparing delicious health foods and drinks for the club members & guests.

From Jan 2008 the Bald Chef is available freelance or full time, to the catering industry or for private functions.

Other main interests:

I produced a calendar "Candid Moments by Nino Vitanza" in 1987,a selection of my photograph of film and television stars spotted in candid moments in and around London.

I have practiced since Jan 87, I am a 3rd Dan black belt and judo referee. I run my own judo club (Just Judo), opened in September 1996 at Southgate College, London.

Favourite football club.
Inter Milan, and Italy

Cooking for Charity.
Mentor for the Prince's Trust.

Favourite actor.
Al Pacino

Nino The Bald Chef
The Bald Chef 2009©