Chef Amy Brandwein
Amy’s earliest memories of food come from helping her father in his vegetable garden and their days spent making traditional Italian pizzas from scratch. These moments sparked her passion for Italian cuisine, which to this day inspires her in the kitchen.Chef Brandwein began her culinary career in the pastry kitchen at James Beard award- winning Chef Roberto Donna's Galileo restaurant. Her skill, dedication and passion led to eventual promotion as his executive chef in 2005. In this capacity, Chef Brandwein managed kitchen operations for four concepts: Galileo proper, Chef Donna's "Laboratorio", "Osteria del Galileo" and the "Galileo Grill.” During her tenure, the restaurants received two 4-star ratings from major news outlets.
In the fall of 2006, Brandwein joined Chef Donna as the chef de cuisine of Bebo Trattoria in Arlington, Virginia. Her partnership with Chef Donna in recipe development, kitchen operations and the opening processes resulted in a 2.5 star award by the Washington Post. In 2008, the Ritz Carlton Hotel tapped Chef Brandwein to re- launch the fyve Restaurant Lounge in Arlington, VA. In this capacity, she was praised for her innovative work and commitment to local, seasonal ingredients.
In 2010, she was hired by New York based BLT Restaurant Group to launch Casa Nonna, the company's first ever Italian concept in Washington, DC. In this role, Chef Brandwein was responsible for all kitchen operations, opening processes and recipe development. A successful September 2010 launch was followed by a positive 2-star review by the Washington Post. At Casa Nonna, Chef Brandwein introduced many innovative dining experiences, including a street side gelato cart, regional Italian menu program, Aperitivo!, and Tavola 12 - a unique and interactive 12 -course tasting menu cooked by Chef herself - with authenticity and seasonality in mind.
In 2012, Chef Brandwein launched Chef AmyB, a hospitality consulting company which advises restaurants, small business owners and hospitality experts in the Washington, DC market. Core areas include menu design and strategy, kitchen operations and structure, hands-on kitchen training, recipe development and financial operations.
In December 2013, Chef Brandwein will rejoin Chef Roberto Donna to launch the new Alba Osteria in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, she will continue to pursue her goal to open her own restaurant in the near future.
Chef Brandwein's culinary passion is authentic, regional Italian cooking - in conjunction with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. She is a proficient restaurant operator, lecturer, cooking class instructor and professional writer. Throughout her career, she has earned many accolades and honors, including a RAMMY Award 2007, a nomination for Rising Culinary Star from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, and scholarships from the James Beard Foundation and International Association of Culinary Professionals. She has appeared on numerous local and national live television programs, including a victorious battle against Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef America.
Chef Brandwein is a longtime supporter of local charities, including So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen and Martha's Table. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She is an occasional instructor and judge at L’Academie de Cuisine and the French Culinary Institute in New York. Chef Brandwein lives in her hometown of Arlington, Virginia with her husband, Jeremy and their fluffy Maine Coon cat, Bailey.