Born and raised in Modena, Italy, Chef Bonelli approached Chef Massimo Bottura in 2002 for a position at Osteria Francescana, Bottura’s famed restaurant in Modena. To Bonelli’s delight, Chef Bottura said yes, and he then worked and trained there for six years. During this time, Bottura greatly influenced Bonelli’s attitude toward food, inspiring him to take a more philosophical, seasonal approach in the kitchen.
In 2008, Bonelli made the move to New York City and continued to hone the skill set he acquired at Osteria Francescana, but in a new context of the American palate. He first worked as Executive Chef at Perbacco in the East Village where after only 5 months, he received 2 stars from the NY Times. With the goal of expanding his techniques and use of spices, Bonelli later took a position as Executive Sous Chef at Daniel Boulud’s Boulud Sud. At Boulud Sud, Bonelli explored new food cultures (North African, Israeli, Turkish, and more), and began incorporating some of their culinary traditions into his own cooking.
Next, in 2013, Bonelli joined the team at Saraghina, the beloved Bed-Stuy wood-fired pizza destination, where he learned the nuances of pizza making. He also helped to open the Saraghina Bakery and later the bar, developing recipes and menu items. After a few years at Saraghina, Bonelli was tapped to open La Pecora Bianca, the buzzy modern Italian spot in NoMad that opened its doors in 2015.
After two years with La Pecora Bianca, Bonelli embarked on a sabbatical year in 2017 to learn the craft of curing meats, traveling through Italy, working with innovative chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill Stone Barns on developing pastas with different heirloom grains, and planning his next career move. The opportunity to explore, and revisit his hometown of Modena, brought Bonelli new inspiration, and even further developed his personal style of cooking. He spent the next 3 years working as a chef consultant and private chef in NYC.
In September of 2020, Bonelli moved across the country for the opportunity to partner with Los Angeles veteran John Borghetti to develop a new restaurant concept that brings together Bonelli’s Italian roots and Borghetti’s upbringing in Southern Brazil. As the chef at Nossa, his kitchen features recipes from both of their backgrounds, paying homage to the Galeterias of Southern Brazil that are heavily influenced by the Northern Italian immigrants that relocated in the late 1800’s.