Maurizio Mazzon

Maurizio Mazzon

Vice President and Executive Chef
Il Fornaio
San Francisco, CA

“The one ingredient you need to have is passion.”

Gnocchi Made Right

My first restaurant job was at All'Angelo Restaurant in Venice. I worked there 10 years. Then in 1995, I was offered an opportunity to work in an Italian restaurant in Tampa for six months. After that, I returned to Venice for a few months but knew I wanted to go back to the United States. After working in restaurants in Miami and Chicago, I moved to Palo Alto, CA, where I opened Il Fornaio No. 4.

I develop the menus, purchase the wine and train the chefs at Il Fornaio’s 20 locations. When I taught the chefs and line cooks how to make gnocchi, the first thing I explained is that you must choose the right potato. You need to use the 70-count Idaho® Russets. It’s the perfect match. They're not too big and not too small, and they have less moisture. We boil the potatoes unpeeled to keep moisture out and then bake them to remove even more moisture. Less moisture means you can use less flour and avoid gnocchi that sticks to the palette. I think making gnocchi the right way is a skill that takes a chef to a different level. Gnocchi alla Norcina is one of our best sellers.

People come to Il Fornaio for Italian tradition and I’m pleased to be able to create food that delivers that. Chefs are like musicians. They take notes and put them together to create a great song.

Veneto-native Maurizio Mazzon and Il Fornaio are known for outstanding traditional Italian cuisine. Mazzon’s recipe for Ofelle alla Triestina was included in the first Idaho® Potato Chefs Calendar and can be found at www,idahopotato.com/recipes/. Il Fornaio has been awarded the ‘Marchio Q,’ a globally recognized mark of Italian tradition and hospitality.