Fra’ Mani Founder and Curemaster Paul Bertolli is known for his tenure as Chef of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California (1982-1992) and Chef/Co-Owner of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland, California (1995-2005). Active as a writer and teacher on culinary subjects, he also owns and operates his own company, Agrodolce, Inc., which offers consulting services to the wine, food and restaurant industries.
In 1985 he was included in Esquire’s register 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 who are most directly involved in shaping, refining, and improving American cuisine. In 1988, Random House published his book
Chez Panisse Cooking. And in August of 2003, Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, published 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.
Paul has also received rave reviews from national critics and has been featured in almost 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.
Awards include “Chef of the Year” by San Francisco Magazine in 1989, GQ‘s “Favorite Chef” and “Golden Dish” awards in 1996, Wine Spectator‘s “Top Italian Restaurants” in 1997. In 2001, Paul received the prestigious James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Best Chef in California.” In 2005, Paul was named as one of five nominees for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Outstanding Chef” (United States).
For the past 20 years Paul 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 area 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.