EAT + EAT Feature
Chef Stefano Masanti
“A Tiny Chef’s Jacket and a World of Michelin Stars”


Published On: November 06, 2023
15 time Michelin Star Chef Stefano Masanti in his V. Sattui Winery black Chef Coat wtih gray background

Fifteen-time Michelin Star Chef Stefano Masanti’s future was preordained at eight when he asked his parents for a chef’s jacket for Christmas. His father, Franco, bought the smallest jacket he could find, and his grandmother, Elsa, tailored it to fit him perfectly. And, voilà! A chef was born.

Masanti is still cooking, whipping up dishes in his Italian Alps restaurant and at V. Sattui Winery, one of the oldest and most iconic wineries in Napa Valley.

Masanti and his sommelier wife, Raffaella, live in Napa Valley from April through October, then travel back to Madesimo, Italy, near St. Moritz, for busy ski season.

He manages V. Sattui’s culinary program with detailed menus for large-scale events and weddings. It’s a little different at Il Cantinone, his Michelin-starred restaurant. “At my restaurant, I don’t repeat meals, and we don’t have a menu. I find the best ingredients, and maybe I have four cabbages, one pumpkin, and a rabbit, so I’ll create the dish with that.”

Masanti recounts how he was plucked from the Alps to run a culinary team in Napa Valley. “Tom Davies [V. Sattui President and Managing Partner] came to our restaurant, and I asked how many courses he would like. ‘Twenty-two,’ Tom joked. I did that, and he invited me to Napa Valley to cook for their annual Harvest Ball. Then they invited me to consult on their gelato program, pulling from my grandfather’s recipe, then Bresaola [cured/dried beef]. Now I do all the summer events and weddings.”

At this point, Masanti’s family likely began to regret that tiny chef’s coat. His father hadn’t wanted him to be a chef at all. “I asked my father if I could go to culinary school, and he said, ‘No, you have to be a hotel manager. (His family owns an adjacent hotel.)” But it wasn’t long before he was in the kitchen, albeit without the culinary training he had craved.

He absorbed priceless knowledge around him. “I made many mistakes, and my grandmother, Elsa, helped me learn traditional stuff.” When the restaurant closed for low season, he assisted other chefs for free to learn. “And I went to the old people of my village because they know all about wild herbs, roots, and mushrooms.”

When he received the first of his fifteen Michelin stars and explained its significance to Nonna Elsa, she kept him grounded like that 8-year-old boy. “Always remember you are not a doctor. You are not a scientist. You are a person who cooks like millions of people every day. So, calm down.”


4 servings  


  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 2 TB EVOO
  • 1 lb. pumpkin pulp cut into cubes
  • 3 oz. rice milk
  • Water/salt/pepper as needed



  • Seeds washed and dried
  • 1 oz. EVOO
  • 1 TB of EV pumpkin oil



  • 12 thin slices of pumpkin


Pickled Skin

  • 2 oz. pumpkin skin julienned
  • 2 oz. rice vinegar
  • 1 oz. sauvignon blanc
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 2 coriander seeds
  • 2 cardamom seeds
  • 1 stick of cinnamon



  • Place pumpkin cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add EVOO and salt. Bake at 320°F for 30 minutes. Reserve.
  • Put oil and onion in pot on low heat. Add pumpkin and cover with water. Cook for 15 minutes, blend until smooth. 
  • Blanch skins in boiling salt water for 5 minutes. Cool in water.
  • Bring vinegar/wine/salt/spices to boil. Add skins. Cool.  
  • Mix seeds and oil on sheet, roast for 20 min at 320°F. Cool and remove shells.
  • Dehydrate sliced pumpkin on sheet at  220°F for 2 hours. Cool.
  • Add seeds, pumpkin oil, and skin to soup. Top with chips.