Massimo Mele

Massimo Mele - Executive Chef

Massimo Mele was surrounded by great Italian food from an early age. Born in Tasmania and raised in Naples, Massimo watched his grandmother, aunties and mother cook and prepare food in the kitchen every day.

His family migrated back to Tasmania when he was 8 years old, where he discovered and honed his food senses working in the family restaurant, La Bella Napoli, after school and on school holidays.

Deciding on a professional career as a chef, Massimo spent his late teens working in and around Hobart's reputable restaurants. In 1999 he was named Apprentice of The Year at the Restaurant & Catering Awards & was also a National Finalist in the Nestle Golden Chefs Hat Award. To further his horizons and broaden his culinary knowledge, an 18-year-old Massimo moved to Melbourne and continued his apprenticeship under Chef Roberto Castellani at the prestigious Donovan's Restaurant in St Kilda.

During the four and a half years working in this multi-award winning restaurant, he was closely mentored by Gail and Kevin Donovan. It was there that he learnt the ins and outs of the business, developed a love for the industry, a thirst for knowledge and a deep respect for amazing produce.

In 2004, Massimo returned to Tasmania to open Mud Bar and Restaurant in Launceston. The menu featured an array of fresh local produce, with some authentic Italian produce to give original flavours. In 2005, Massimo was named the winner of the 'People's Choice Award' at the Lexus Young Chef of the Year Competition, which took him to many parts of Australia & eventuated with him cooking for then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard.

In 2006 he moved back to Italy and worked in the south mastering his craft and absorbing true Italian culture. A believer of the farm-to-table principle, Massimo spent time on the family farm learning, picking and cooking with fresh produce.

Massimo traveled to New York and Los Angeles for the G'Day USA promotion in 2009 and 2010 where he cooked at the Waldorf Astoria and at the Consulate General House. He headed up and managed a large team of chefs for the gala dinners which catered for 800 VIPs from around the world.

Massimo's food philosophy is simple and he talks about great food as it being a part of every day life. "I woke up in the morning and my mother would talk about what we were going to eat for dinner. Every day was Sunday and every Sunday was like Christmas." Massimo's passion for quality produce has been reflected by featured articles in the Sydney press, including the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food and the Daily Telegraph's Taste. The Sydney-based chef has made appearances on television shows such as 'Fresh', 'Sydney Weekender', 'The Circle' and appeared in the first series of 'My Kitchen Rules'. More recently he has been a regular guest chef on 'Ready, Steady, Cook' cementing his talents both on and off screen.