Chef Damian Sansonetti, a Pittsburgh native, grew up exploring fresh, local ingredients, making pasta with his grandmothers, curing meats with his grandfather, and assisting his father in the family kitchen. A career in food was practically his birthright. Graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Sansonetti worked at Nantucket’s Brant Point Grill and Pittsburgh’s Steelhead Grill, moving to New York to open Heartbeat in the W Hotel. Sansonetti met Daniel Boulud while working at Shallots in Midtown and eventually took a position at Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne.
Training rigorously under Chef Olivier Muller, Sansonetti became chef de banquet at Daniel and then sous chef under Jean Francois Bruel. Promoted to executive chef of Bar Boulud in 2008, Sansonetti was named a 2009 StarChefs.com Rising Star. Now ensconced in the burgeoning food scene of Portland, Maine, Sansonetti’s partnered with his wife, Pastry Chef Ilma Lopez, to open their Italian fine dining restaurant Piccolo and in 2017 Chaval, today he sits as a nominee for 2022 James Beard Award: Best Chef Northeast.