Brooklyn born and raised Chef Camillo’s fondest family memories all revolve around food. As a young boy growing up in Bensonhurst, the son of working class Italian immigrant parents, he remembers his late mother, Frances, “always, always, always in the kitchen” slicing, stirring, simmering or sautéing “something delicious.” Day after day, she created the freshest, most flavorful meals without even so much as glancing at a recipe. And the secret to making a successful meal every single time was more than just adding a pinch of a certain spice. “Food is love,” she’d say. “We have to put love into the food, Camillo! Without it, even the most expensive ingredients are no good!!”
And ever since, Chef Camillo has built his future on the foundation of those three words. #FOODISLOVE
His formal studies began at the New York Restaurant School (part of The Art Institutes) and included classes abroad in Italy (where he learned to create classic Italian cuisine from actual recipes!) After graduation, Chef Camillo quickly found his food on the plates at some of NYC’s top eateries: Café de la Gare, The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel, the Fashion Café (owned by ‘90’s Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington), The Peninsula Hotel, and also as a frequent caterer to recording artist, Aaliyah.
He became intrigued with the vegan lifestyle when a couple he was hired to cook for decided to go meatless. Vegan versions of his own recipes, from tofu ‘chicken’ cutlets and pasta ‘bolognese,’ fit nicely along with the naturally dairy and meat-free classics from his childhood – eggplant caponata; giadeniera; pasta fagiole and his mother’s specialty – white bean dip with roasted garlic served with day old Italian bread. Chef Camillo knew that as long as he added the “love,” his clients would be satisfied.
In 2006 he joined the Natural Gourmet Institute as a Culinary Instructor, while continuing to explore his talent for creating vegan/gluten-free/kosher desserts. And soon after, he was selling his goods at Lifethyme Natural Market, Babycakes NYC, Peacefood Café and Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee in Amagansett and NYC. With the buzz about his baked goods beginning to grow, Chef Camillo was recruited by the owner of Vegan Divas to develop and launch a line of vegan-baked goods prompting Time Out New York to label his signature cinnamon-sugar donuts as something their one million readers really needed “to know about.”
In 2011, The Kabbalah Centre NYC commissioned Chef Camillo to develop special events meals and dessert menus. (It was there a certain “Queen of Pop” became a “True Blue” fan of his gluten and sugar-free Lemon Drop Tart!!)
As he continues his work at the Kabbalah Center, Chef Camillo is also committed to learning and most recently studied at Matthew Kenney Cuisine in California and worked as a consultant for Juice Generation NYC. In 2016, he returned to Italy to assist in developing a Vegan Culinary Event Center in Venice. Once called the “best kept secret in the culinary world” by IFONLY, Chef Camillo was recently named as one of their “luminaries” as more and more celebrities and culinary influencers marvel at his creations and accomplishments.
Raw Food Chef
International Restaurant Consultant