Chef Roberto Donna of Galileo - Biography

Washington, DC

March 1997

Born in the Piedmont Region of Italy, Roberto Donna's fervent mission is the promotion of authentic Italian cuisine. As a James Beard Award winning Chef and Restaurateur in Washington, DC, Donna is committed to introducing others to the real flavors of Italy, which he provides in his seven restaurants.

Donna arrived in DC at the age of 19 after having expanded his culinary horizons by working in kitchens across England, France and Switzerland. Four years later, in 1984, he opened Galileo and gained a strong following. With restaurants ranging in style from the formal Galileo to the "all you can eat" Il Radicchio, Donna has taken into consideration the full range of consumers' culinary taste buds.

Donna's efforts have been widely applauded. Wine Spectator has called Galileo one of the "10 Best Italian Restaurants in America", and the magazine presented Donna with the Grand Award of Excellence for his wine cellar since 1997. In 1996, Galileo was named one of the twenty finest Italian restaurants in the world by the President of Italy, and Donna published his first cookbook "Cooking in Piedmont with Roberto Donna."

Additional recognition includes the 1996 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic, the induction of Galileo into Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame, and the DiRoNa (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) Award from 1990 to the present.

Nationally, Donna is Chairman of the Gruppo Ristoratori Italini, an national organization with the goal of emphasizing authentic Italian food culture in the United States. Locally, he is on the boards of the DC Central Kitchen and American Institute of Wine & Food. As an active member of Share Our Strength and The James Beard Foundation, he participates in numerous charity events across the country.

Roberto Donna's civic-minded activities and the food he offers are his way of saying "thank you" to those that have helped him succeed.