Hailing from Sicily, Chef Celestino Drago has become one of the city’s and the country’s most lauded Italian chefs. From his affable demeanor to his inventive and delicious takes on Italian fare, Chef Celestino has helped lay the groundwork for Italian cuisine in America today. Before launching his restaurant empire in Southern California, Celestino attended mechanical school in Italy while simultaneously working at a restaurant in the city of Pisa called Pierino. There he realized he loved everything about the restaurant business. Recognizing his culinary potential, the chef at Pierino worked closely with him and in just three short years Celestino took over as the chef.
In 1979, Celestino was hired as the chef at Orlando Orsini in Los Angeles, CA, prompting him to leave Italy to embark upon a new culinary career in the United States. After working at Orlando Orsini, Celestino worked at Spectrum Foods before opening his first restaurant, Celestino, in Beverly Hills. After receiving high praise, he was encouraged to open, Drago, on bustling Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. Drago was met with rave reviews and was consistently rated in the top five Italian restaurants in Los Angeles before it closed in 2011. It was Celestino’s success at Drago that led to his subsequent ventures, which include his artisanal bakery, Dolce Forno, an upscale eatery, IL Pastaio, and Drago Centro.
Celestino’s cuisine is deeply rooted in his childhood home in Sicily. Since his arrival in Los Angeles, he has been delighting diners with dishes that hearken back to his home country dishes imbued with the heritage and authenticity of true Italian fare.