Antonello Losito is a native of Puglia and the owner of Gelso Bianco. When Antonello first started travelling overseas and learning about other cultures, he began to truly treasure the heel of Italy’s boot. It is his genuine desire to share his cuisine and culture with other travelers and show them around this incredible region that he calls home.
Executive Chef Rocco Cartia
Rocco Cartia hails directly from Monopoli, the small city on the shores of the Adriatic that we call home. Rocco grew up shopping the local markets, drinking coffees in the piazzas of the historic center, trolling around the port with his friends and swimming in the aqua blue sea. At a young age, Rocco entered the culinary world in Monopoli with tough jobs as a dishwasher, kitchen hand, junior waiter and eventually head waiter, all before the age of 16.
During his school years Rocco held many positions in prestigious restaurant kitchens in Puglia and began to expand his perspective to include culinary experiences in Marche, Emilia Romania and Liguria. But this was just the beginning of Rocco's soon to be world culinary travels. His first experience abroad was a head chef position in Switzerland which only fueled his desire to see more of the world and learn its languages. From here Rocco decided that he wanted to learn English and took off for the UK for more three and four star restaurant kitchen experience. Part of this included a stint with Gordon Ramsay in London’s 3 Michelin stars restaurant and while he learned a great deal, Rocco realized that there was more to his passion for cooking than aggressive kitchen environments. And so back to Italy he went for the opening of a high class restaurant in Chianti and eventually to teach cooking lessons at Puglia's own Masseria Torre Coccaro.
Rocco's next adventure was to Australia to learn more about the cuisine of the New World and its refined Asian influences. Rocco has settled into the vibe of Australia's Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane working in a fine dining restaurant, part of the Crowne Plaza Hotels. His hope is to split his time between there and Monopoli, continually following summer and the freshest ingredients possible, to get the best out of it.
No matter where his travels take him though, Rocco's heart remains in Puglia and that comes through in his cooking and passion for the excellent food you can find all over this ancient region, from the beautiful sea to the magnificent hills inland. Rocco will be more than happy to welcome you into his experience and provide you with plenty of memorable moments from our sunny and smiley Puglia