Donato Scotti :: Executive Chef

Executive ChefGrowing up in the small town of Bergamo, near Lake Como, Italy, Donato Scotti’s roots were planted from a young age for his future career as a chef. Fine cooking, homemade products and a personal touch were a part of the culture and daily life, where he delivered bread by bicycle to local residents as a child. Hailing from a family of avid rural gastronomes, he grew up accustomed to fresh rabbits and chickens raised by his father, and homegrown, seasonal vegetables from the family garden, living from farm to table every day. Now the executive chef of his own eponymous Donato Enoteca in Redwood City, CA, Scotti’s dream of opening his own restaurant with true and honest contemporary Italian cuisine has become a reality. It is a place where he creates a weekly-changing menu reminiscent of his childhood days, filled with artisanal ingredients, seasonal California farmer’s market produce and authentic Italian hospitality. Scotti’s approach consists of keeping dishes simple, yet delectable, and allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves, always attune to maintaining a balance in flavor. Dishes from his native Lombardia region are exhibited on the menu, such as Risotto Milanese and Ossobuco, but updated with a modern twist.

Scotti’s path to Donato Enoteca began in high school, when he worked at the Michelin-starred Ristorante Del l'Angelo in Italy, a regional destination for serious food lovers. Shortly thereafter, he studied formally at the Instituto Alberghiero di San Pellegrino culinary school, which has trained such other acclaimed chefs as Luciano Pellegrini and Angelo Auriana. After graduating at the age of 21, the allure of travel and culinary exploration tugged at Scotti and he moved to New York City, working at an Italian restaurant on the southeast corner of Central Park. He then decided to move Westward to Los Angeles where the opportunity to work at the legendary Valentino restaurant and the bounty of California’s fresh and local ingredients was unsurpassable. Under the direction of owner Piero Selvaggio, Scotti shined at Valentino, moving up in the ranks during his six years there to eventually become the Chef. He later worked at Primi and Posto, before moving north to Fresno. In 2000 he joined Il Fornaio in Sacramento, growing within the company and taking positions at their Walnut Creek and Palo Alto locations as head chef.

In 2004, Scotti designed the concept and opened La Strada in Palo Alto with his friend and business partner who appreciated his vision for a modern ristorante that combined fine food with an elegant yet rustically friendly ambience. Building upon his excellent reputation in the Peninsula for fine cuisine, he focused his menu at La Strada primarily on the Northern Italian regions and set the stage for where he is today.

Now, branching out on his own, Scotti brings the authentic flavors of Italy to Northern California on the palate of a beautifully-designed modern restaurant with rustic accents at Donato Enoteca.
When he’s not at the restaurant, Scotti enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, cooking as a family, taking mushroom foraging trips to Half Moon Bay and coaching soccer.