John Coletta, a first generation Italian-American, is a chef, restaurateur, author and respected veteran in the Chicago and international culinary communities. As Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, John preserves the authenticity of regional Italian cuisine through skillful culinary techniques and authentic Italian ingredients.
The son of Italian immigrants and former owners of a neighborhood restaurant, John acquired a deep respect for food and an appreciation for La Vera Cucina Italiana at a very young age. Johnâ€™s summers spent in central and southern Italy also cultivated his interest in Italian food and culture. The concept that meals were the most important part of the day made it obvious to John what his career path would be, â€œIt was a natural evolution for me to become a chef,â€ he recalls.
After earning a degree in hotel and restaurant management from New York City Technical College, John worked with revered chefs at world-renowned hotel and restaurant kitchens, including the St. Regis Hotel, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and the Four Seasons Restaurant. He went on to train abroad under Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Joel Rubuchon in Paris and Three-Star Michelin chefs Pierre Wynants and Pierre Romeyer in Brussles, Belgium.
John went on to command a kitchen of his own, initially, as executive chef at Nikolaiâ€™s Roof of the Hilton Atlanta, then at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where he oversaw 450 cooks in ten different restaurants. Soon after, he was proclaimed one of the four â€œbig gunsâ€ of Asian hotel cuisine by the Sydney Morning Herald, while serving at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.
An individual gold medalist in the 1984 Culinary Olympics, John then won a gold medal in Frankfurt, Germany in 1992 as part of the Culinary Olympic Team U.S.A. and earned the opportunity of advising the gold medalist 1994 U.S.A. Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. As a member of this team, he developed his now deep-rooted sense of discipline as a chef and earned the title of one of Americaâ€™s Rising Star Chefs by PBS television.
Upon moving to Chicago, John opened Entre Nous and Primavera at the Fairmont Hotel and the acclaimed Caliterra restaurant in Chicagoâ€™s Streeterville neighborhood as Executive Chef, paving the way for his most promising endeavor.
In 2004, John formed a partnership with co-founders Steve Lombardo and Larry Shane to bring his vision of a classic, urban-Italian ristorante to life. John infused Quartino Ristorante & Wine Barâ€™s seasonally driven menu with authentic regional preparations of rustic Italian recipes â€“ many of which date back 200 years. His preparations of house-cured and aged salumi, such as Soppressata, Salamette Pancetta and Duck Prosciutto, along with cheeses made daily in-house, are a nod to Johnâ€™s love and respect for La Vera Cucina Italiana. With the creation of Quartinoâ€™s menu, John stayed true to the same culinary philosophy that he has held since the beginning of his career: Prepare Italian food, with Italian passion.
Quartino opened its doors in December 2005 and is now in its 11th year of showcasing the flavors and traditions of Italyâ€™s most vibrant regions. Quartino is the recipient of the coveted Ospitalita Italiana, which is awarded by the Italian government and recognizes restaurants that uphold the traditions of Italian culture.
In 2009, Coletta authored and published 250 True Italian Pasta Dishes, a cookbook dedicated to his passion for La Vera Cucina Italiana. A passion for authentic Italian products has lead Coletta to be the national spokesperson for Carmelina Pomodori a true expression of Alimentare Italiane.
Chef Coletta strives daily to continue achieving his goal to, "Honor humble authentic Italian dishes and present them as they are meant to be experienced."