Chef Ugo Allesina

36

Chef Ugo Allesina was born in the small town of Piemonte in Northern Italy, where he dreamed of traveling the world one day. His first position in the “world of food” was at the neighborhood butcher shop where he delivered meat on his Moped and later worked in the shop. Utilizing his skill, he moved on to a job at a hotel in Italy prepping meat and crafting appetizers for two summers. After this first dipping-of-the-toe into the culinary ocean, Chef moved on to explore greater depths in the field and accepted higher positions at prestigious hotels in Italy and Germany. He worked as a cook at the Italie & Hotel Suisse on Lake Maggiore and was hired as a Chef at the five-star Regina Palace Hotel and the Lido Palace Hotel Baveno, also located on Lake Maggiore, in Italy.

Chef’s career in the U.S. began in 1990 when the owners of Ristorante Mezzaluna in Manhattan offered him a job as the Executive Chef of their new Corona Del Mar location. Excited about the opportunity, Chef Ugo packed a duffle bag and dove into a new life amongst a new language, new culture, and new faces. Following Mezzaluna’s six-year run, Chef found work back in Italy. He later decided to return to Southern California to gain more experience and have the opportunity of working his way up in the business, even though it meant cutting his salary in half. So, Chef joined Ristorante Il Fornaio, worked at several of their locations and was eventually offered the job of Executive Chef for the group. After a year as Executive Chef, Ugo decided to work closer to home and began working at Prego in Irvine. He has been with Prego these eighteen years through many changes since he joined the restaurant family in the year 2000.

Chef Ugo is currently the Executive Chef of Prego Mediterranean in Tustin, where he takes pride in his great customer-to-chef relationships and the devoted professionalism of each of his employees. Grateful to have achieved so much coming from such a small town, Chef always knew that he wanted to give back to the community. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, a charity organization for underprivileged children. Using his connections in the business, Ugo helps collect donations of all kinds for many projects, though he is especially proud of helping three to four-hundred kids to attend Camp Sequoia each year. He has even received a “Key to the City” in both Santa Ana and Anaheim for his charitable works. Chef Ugo loves what he does, both in and outside the kitchen. It is because of this passion that he makes such a powerful impact on people’s culinary and life experiences.

 

CHEF’S FAVORITES

KITCHEN GADGET OR TOOL: Mezzaluna

KITCHEN APPLIANCE: Smoker

COOKWARE: Lagostina

CONDIMENT/SPICE: Nutmeg

OC RESTAURANT: Taiko

DISH TO EAT: Rotisserie chicken

RAW INGREDIENT: Sushi grade fish

FAST FOOD: In N Out

AVERAGE NUMBER OF HOURS YOU WORK IN A WEEK: 60-65

1ST COOKING MEMORY: Grandma making fresh gnocchi

FIRST JOB: Delivering meat on a Moped starting at 5 AM

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST HOSPITALITY JOB: Hotel Eden in Italy

WHAT FIRST INTERESTED YOU IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY: Engaging conversation with new people

YEARS OF CULINARY EDUCATION: None – but I have been teaching myself for over 30 years and I’m still learning

YEARS IN BUSINESS: 35 years

IF NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE: Archaeologist

HOBBY: Watching soccer

CULINARY HERO: Lavarini Victtorio, because he taught me how to fall in love with my profession

FAVORITE DISH TO MAKE: Porchetta

3 WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOUR CULINARY STYLE: Fulfilling, flavorful, evolving

3 WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE: Firm, passionate, educational

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS INTERESTED IN THE HOSPITALITY AND CULINARY INDUSTRY: Attend a culinary school and work in many restaurants. It’s the only way to fully learn everything. Never believe you are the best, you will still be learning even on your last day of work

 

PREGO MEDITERRANEAN

2409 Park Ave. Tustin, CA

www.pregooc.com

949.553.1333

ESTABLISHED November 23, 2017

HOURS Sun – Thurs 11 am – 9 pm; Fri – Sat 11 am – 10 pm

AVERAGE COVER Lunch: $20.00; Dinner: $35.00

Print Friendly, PDF & Email