Most often recognized as one of the champions on season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” Chef Tony Mantuano is also internationally regarded as an influential culinary force. He is the Chef/Partner at Spiaggia, one of the country’s leading restaurants and Chicago’s only four-star Italian restaurant, and has been awarded the 2005 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Midwest. In May 2014, Mantuano celebrated the 30th anniversary of Spiaggia, which included a complete redesign of the dining room that relocated the bar and added a new casual lounge.
Mantuano’s love for creating exciting restaurant concepts has given way to other ventures. Most recently, Mantuano opened River Roast his first non-Italian restaurant in Chicago’s River North neighborhood in July 2014 with longtime friend Chef John Hogan. The restaurant features contemporary American tavern fare and focuses on dramatic presentations of whole roasted chicken, which is cold smoked and then roasted to perfection in a specially-designed oven; whole roasted de-boned fish prepared in a tandoor oven and slow-cooked roast beef; all carved tableside.
He is also Chef/Partner at Terzo Piano, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that utilizes fresh, local, organic ingredients to create seasonal menus at The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago; and he is the co-owner of his family’s Mangia Trattoria, a classic Italian restaurant in his hometown of Kenosha, Wis.
Mantuano’s first cookbook, The Spiaggia Cookbook, was lauded by Food & Wine magazine as one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2004. In 2008 Mantuano co-authored Wine Bar Food with wine expert and wife Cathy Mantuano, which has been the inspiration for WINE BAR FOOD outposts at the 2008-2013 US Open Tennis Championships in New York.
Mantuano has made numerous television appearances including “Nightline,” “The Today Show,” “The Early Show” and “Martha” and has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator, among others.
In addition to his 2005 honor, Mantuano’s Spiaggia has also received James Beard Award nominations for Outstanding Restaurant in America in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014 and for Outstanding Service in 2008, 2009, 2012. Chef Mantuano and Spiaggia held their one Michelin star in the 2011 – 2015 Chicago guides. In September 2012, he was named part of the American Chef Corps and a 2012 State Chef by the U.S. Department of State and its new Culinary Diplomatic Partnership program. However, his favorite award was presented in April 2009, when he and Cathy Mantuano were honored with the keys to San Martino in the Italian region of Molise for serving authentic Italian cuisine in America and in particular to President Barak Obama, a long-time Spiaggia guest who celebrated his presidential election victory at Spiaggia in 2008.