Gianvito (Vito) Cinquepalmi, the celebrated Chef and owner of Mangia e Bevi, is no stranger to the kitchen or to Italian cuisine.
Born in Mola di Bari, (more commonly referred to simply as Mola) a small coastal town in the Southern Italian region of Apulia (Puglia), Vito was raised in a family of skilled artisans who taught him the importance of pride in one's work. It was during his early apprenticeship in his grandmother’s pasticceria (pastry shop) that Vito acquired his family's traditional sense of fine craftsmanship and attention to minute detail. True to his native Italian roots, however, the kitchen was the center of daily life in Vito’s home and it was there that he found the inspiration to feed a lifelong passion for the culinary arts.
Typical of a Mediterranean diet, fresh locally grown ingredients formed the basis of his family diet. Those indispensable food staples were primarily the extra virgin olive oils made with olives grown and hand picked by his father in his own olive groves and produced by his father in the local olive oil mills; hand made pastas, particularly orecchiette (little ears pasta) frequently made by his mother; and wines produced from the grapes locally grown in Puglia, Europe’s most prolific vineyard zone.
Fueled by his desire to pursue a culinary career, Vito completed his culinary training at the Scuola Alberghiera culinary school in Castellana, Bari (Italy). This launched the start of a career that took Vito to the fine resorts of San Marino on the Adriatic Riviera, one of the most famous seaside resorts among Italians. After immigrating to the United States in 1995 and fueled by his passion for authentic regional Italian cuisine, Vito established his distinction as a chef of simple yet sophisticated cuisine from his native Italy at several stylish Italian restaurants in New York City. Later opened his own fine Italian restaurant in the exclusive Westchester County area of New York, where he was also Executive Chef. Vito brings with him a track record of success in the Italian restaurant business. In 1994, Vito and his family moved to Urbana, Maryland to open Mangia e Bevi.
As Chef and owner, Vito can often be found in the kitchen of Mangia e Bevi creating and preparing sensational dishes for the restaurant's guests, a task he performs on a daily basis. He can also be found in the dining room greeting guests and making them feel at home.