Chef Jonathan Benno of Leonelli Restaurants - Biography

New York, NY

September 2019

Jonathan Benno worked alongside the country’s most venerable chefs, and ultimately struck out on his own to become one. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Benno worked on the West Coast for Michael Mina at Aqua and then Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. Back east, he worked at Daniel, followed by a stint at Auberge du Vieux Puits in the South of France. Returning to New York City, he served as poissonier at Les Celebrites at the Essex House, and then spent the next two years with Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern, with one year devoted to pastry. From there, he opened Craft with Marco Canora.

To prepare for the opening of restaurant-of-the-decade Per Se, Benno briefly returned to work for Keller in Napa before serving as chef de cuisine of Per Se for six years, overseeing all aspects of the kitchen and working with Keller to cultivate their classic dishes. Under Benno, Per Se received top marks from The New York Times, and three Michelin stars. Benno also earned the titles of 2005 StarChefs Rising Star, and “Best New Chef” from Food & Wine.

In 2014, Benno ventured out on his own and opened Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center, earning a Michelin star and two stars from The New York Times. In 2018, Benno launched four concepts in the Evelyn Hotel: Leonelli Taberna, Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria, Benno, and Lobby Lounge.