Aldo Zilli is an award-winning celebrity chef and restaurateur who specialises in Italian, vegetarian and seafood cuisine. One of nine children, he was born in the small seaside town of Alba Adriatica in the central Italian region of Abruzzo and first learnt Italian home cooking from his mother in Italy and catering college.
He was the founder and chef-patron of some of London’s most exciting and innovative restaurants, Signor Zilli, Zilli Fish, Zilli Green, Zilli Café and Zilli Bar. His Italian seafood restaurant, Zilli Fish, which was located on Brewer Street, was a Soho institution and welcomed customers for over 15 years until March 2012 when Aldo decided to hang up the chef’s whites and embark on pastures new.
This past year Aldo, who flavours delicious small and uncomplicated dishes, has been providing the award-winning San Carlo group with his industry expertise. The San Carlo group owns Cicchetti and Signor Sassi restaurants in London, Birmingham and Manchester as well as an international portfolio including venues in Kuwait, Beirut and Bangkok.
Aldo Zilli is the brand ambassador for Divo Cheese and features prominently on packaging and in consumer marketing. Aldo has hand-picked five popular Italian recipe cheeses to feature in the new range, each of which is designed to offer superb quality and taste in versatile formats that cater for the needs of British shoppers. The innovative range of premium Italian cheeses offers a modern, unique twist on the Italian cheese category that is now available online with Ocado and in Morrisons, with more retailers looking to stock the range very soon.
Aldo has written 10 books including two autobiographies, Being Zilli and My Italian Country Childhood, as well as various cook books, with his signature Italian recipes. His Fish Cook book showcases some of the fresh seafood recipes that he is so famous for. Zilli Fish and Zilli Light share his healthy Italian recipes with tips on how to eat well and still eat delicious food. His most recent book, Fresh & Green, with over 100 new exciting vegetarian recipes made the Telegraph’s Top Ten in 2012.
Great food and Aldo’s exuberant personality means Aldo appears regularly on television and radio both as presenter and chef. Most recently Aldo appeared on BBC2’s Country Show Cook Off series which aired in Spring 2013. He travelled around the English countryside with fellow chef Silvena Rowe battling it out for first place in local cookery competitions! Before that, he appeared on the UK Good Food channel where he and fellow chef Enzo Oliveri embarked on a culinary journey across Sicily, cooking up delights in Mount Etna, Trapani and the island’s capital, Palermo. The show was so successful that a second series is soon to be filmed. He has also had regular slots on ITV1’s Alan Titchmarsh Show and Daybreak. He further had his own primetime ITV documentary Home Is Where The Heart Is back in 2011, where he and his wife Nikki mentored a homeless boy, took him into their home and changed his life around completely. Previously he had appeared on Celebrity Fit Club in which he lost 2 stone and 6 pounds, gained a new svelte figure and increased popularity as well as leading his team to victory. It was, however, with his winning stint on Celebrity X Factor on ITV1 where he captivated the nation. He charmed the audience with his songs in Italian and proved enormously popular making it through to the last stages of the competition.
On another note, Aldo has worked with various companies and brands, firstly with Thomson Airways by inspiring some creative ideas for airline meals, and then with Kraft Foods by preparing six recipes with Philadelphia soft cheese for the Heavenly Inspiration website and You Magazine. He has also featured in many other magazines and newspapers, and currently writes his own weekly column for the Daily Express Saturday Magazine, appearing recently in Channel 5’s adverts for the newspaper.
Aldo was a big part of the Kellogs campaign advertising Optivita cereal. He has since collaborated with M Kitchen at Morrisons Supermarkets nationwide to create two pizzas for their ‘Inspired By’ celebrity chef range, whilst adding more recently his pasta chitarra and Puttanesca sauce. His Pizza Calabrese with Nduja – Calabria’s signature soft salami – quickly became a best seller throughout stores and won Best Indulgent Pizza at the PAPA Industry Awards in 2012.
Since selling his restaurant chains, Aldo has been busier than ever. Aside from the numerous books he has written and countless TV appearances he has made, he has also launched his own brand new PR and marketing company, Zilli Media. Aldo now offers his services and over 30 years experience in the business as part of a package for new and existing restaurants, bars, cafés and chefs who may need his help. Aldo is currently working with the San Carlo Group of restaurants as their executive chef, offering his advice and expertise alongside devising new seasonal menus for their numerous restaurants.