Chef Benaglio’s Beginnings
Paolo Benaglio, chef and owner of Gallo Rosso, was born in Bergamo, Italy, in 1961.
As the youngest of his 7 brothers, he often watched his mother loving prepare classic Italian delicacies for her family and he soon developed a deep passion for cooking.
After earning a diploma from a hotel management school, he left home at age 18 to join the military and he cooked for thousands of people during the recovery efforts for the Irpinia Earthquake.
A Rising Culinary Star
After completing his military service, and interning for some of the most Italy’s prestigious hotel chains, he suddenly started receiving incredible job offers aboard international cruise ships.
In 1981, Princess Cruises asked Paolo to join their team as an assistant cook for an exclusive experience on the Sun Princess, one of the largest and most prestigious cruise ships in the world.
He left home without knowing that this amazing adventure would last almost 3 years.
Paolo’s Global Culinary Adventures
Paolo spent the next several years preparing high-quality cuisine for Princess Cruises. He even worked on the Royal Princess, famous for the American TV series Love Boat.
His unforgettable travels took him all over the world from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Juneau, Acapulco and many other amazing places.
At each port, Paolo sought out local chefs to study their culinary traditions. He had the opportunity to literally taste a world of new foods and try extravagant combinations that led him to develop delicious recipes that follow what for him is rule n.1 in the kitchen: simplicity.
Thank to these amazing experiences, Paolo was asked to join the staff of the Aleanna, the famous private yacht, as Chef. He was honored to cook for international celebrities and jet-setters.
In those years, he traveled with the Aleanna to Miami, Key West, Monte Carlo, Porto Fino and many other beautiful places and he lived an incredible and sometimes crazy life!
But still, Paolo always remained focused on what was most to important him: friends, family, tradition, and food.
Late one summer day, when he least expected it, magic happened. He was visiting home for a couple weeks while the Aleanna was docked.
Determined to cut his hair after many months, while booking a cut in a hair salon, he met Mina; it was love at first sight.
After their first date, Paolo was supposed to re-board the Aleanna for yet another adventure. Instead, he took a chance on building a lifetime of adventures with Mina.
Soon after, Mina gave birth to their first only daughter, Alessia, who now helps run the family restaurant.
The Gallo Rosso
Chef Paolo sought to re-interpret his global culinary adventures through an Italian lens. He found a unique old stable in the middle of the historic city center of romantic Salò and immediately saw the great heart and potential of the place. With Mina at his side, they transformed the stable into an elegant but warm fine dining restaurant in less than 6 months.
The Gallo Rosso Restaurant opened July 4th, 1989, to great critical acclaim. Paolo’s cuisine and the Gallo Rosso was immediately appreciated by locals, tourists, and celebrities.
A Lasting Tradition
In these 31 years, Paolo has experimented with different menus for his guests but always gives great attention to selecting the highest quality products from Italy and around the world.
Chef Paolo’s first passion is still food. Whatever you order at the Gallo Rosso, be assured, he will prepare it with love.