Dubai’s FIVE Palm Jumeirah has appointed a new executive chef for Italian restaurant Cinque.
Mauro Di Leo, who was featured in the Caterer Middle East 30 under 30 list, previously worked with Raffles, The Palm, leading the kitchen at Matagi.
He said: “I share an aligned bold, forward-thinking, out-of-the-box philosophy with FIVE. FIVE is continually rewriting the rule book on hospitality. A lively, adventurous luxury lifestyle venue, Cinque will provide exceptional culinary-meets-entertainment immersive experiences for guests.”
Di Leo said he aims to be an active team leader. “Respect is the cornerstone of my kitchen – for all, at all times,” he added.
News about Guiseppe Pezzella‘s next move (he was executive chef at the Cinque) will follow, though he is remaining part of the FIVE team.
Di Leo will introduce a selection of elevated pizzas with luxury components such as Italian Alba white truffles, Oscietra caviar and belfago tuna.
Di Leo explained: “I’m Sicilian – so a vibrant love for finely crafted dishes that excite all your senses is deeply imbibed into my core sensibilities. I find Japanese and Italian cultures similar in many ways. I have read a lot of books and travelled to Japan multiple times, I love Hokkaido. Both cultures share a similar ideology of giving respect to food, which I find very fascinating. There is a lot of care and love in handling ingredients, and I am a strong believer that both flavours go extremely well together, so I try to fuse both to get the best of both worlds.”
Born in Palermo, Sicily, Di Leo had an appetite for the culinary arts from an early age. His Italian father ran a Sicilian seafood family-style restaurant – Salvinus – with recipes inspired by Di Leo’s grandmother. He began his journey as a trainee working at his father’s restaurant during his summer breaks from school.
He further developed his skills in London at Osteria Dell’arte in Clapham Common where he was trained by former sous chefs Gordon Ramsay and Davide Degiovanni followed by Dean Street Townhouse.
Before moving to Dubai, Di Leo also spent time in London’s Sumosan Twiga, where he worked with the concept of two separate kitchens and cuisines – Italian and Japanese.