Chef Joe Magnanelli of Cucina Urbana - Biography

San Diego, CA

April 2010

Chef Joe Magnanelli helped transform his previous workplace, San Diego's Laurel into its current form, Cucina Urbana in the ultimate example of adjusting your restaurant concept to survive in this economy. Together with Owner Tracy Borkum and General Manager Ben Kephart, Chef Joe Magnanelli turned what could have been a failing special occasion restaurant into an opportunity to rebrand as a casual Italian hot spot. Now, the place is packed and the food, with nothing over $20, is still top-notch. Magnanelli taps into his Italian background to create still authentic, but slightly more casual and comfort-driven versions of his dishes than at Laurel, like a chicken liver ravioli and whole roasted trout.