Fra’ Mani Founder Paul Bertolli is best known for his tenures as executive chef of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California (1982-1992) and chef of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland, California (1995-2005). From 2005 to the present, he has been the founder and CEO of Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods, which specializes in the manufacture of a varied line of traditional Italian salumi as well as sustainably sourced prepared foods.
In 1985, Chef Bertolli was included in Esquire magazine’s registry of “Men and Women Under 40 Who Are Changing the Nation” and chosen as an honoree in “Who’s Who of Cooking in America,” a national award designed to pay tribute to 25 individuals most directly involved in shaping, refining and improving American cuisine. In 1988, Random House published his first book,
Chez Panisse Cooking. In August of 2003, Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, published his book Cooking by Hand, which contains a substantial chapter on cured meats. Cooking by Hand received an IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) award, which recognizes excellence in cookbook writing.
Chef Bertolli has also received rave reviews from national critics and has been featured in virtually every major culinary publication, including Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Sunset, GQ, New York Times, Wine Spectator, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner Magazine, and Los Angeles Times Magazine.
He won GQ‘s “Favorite Chef” and “Golden Dish” awards in 1996 and Wine Spectator‘s “Top Italian Restaurants” in 1997. In 2001, he received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef in California.” In 2005, Chef Bertolli was named one of five nominees for the James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Chef.”
For the past 20 years, Chef Bertolli has been working to deepen his knowledge and skill in the production of traditional Italian cured meats through frequent sojourns to the production facilities of artisan producers in the Parma and Modena areas of Italy. He has completed a series of courses in Meat Science and relevant aspects of cured meat production at Iowa State’s Meat Science Laboratory. Today he manages Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods as an ever expanding company serving hungry customers across the nation.