Carlo Cavallo
  • 44, Male
  • Sonoma, CA
  • United States
  • Meritage Martini Oyster Bar…
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Profile Information

Executive Chef/ Owner
Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grille
What best describes my company
Catering, Fine Dining
Consulting, Networking, Finding Investors, New locations, Career Advancement
Carlo Cavallo found his life's calling at an early age. He began his culinary career at the early age of three in his Grandmother's trattoria cleaning the mixing bowls used to make her desserts, as children are apt to do. By the age of five he had graduated to making stuffed pastas such as tortellini and ravioli. In order to pay for college he started his first catering company and continued to make cooking an important part of his life.

After college he was hired as a Pastry Chef at the prestigious L'Assassino ristorante in Milan, a favorite celebrity dining spot. He spent a year and a half cooking at L'Assassino, quickly working his way up to Sous Chef. He then took a job as the Chef de Cuisine at the famous Belmonte Hotel in Lugano, Switzerland, where he honed his talents in French Provencal cuisine.

Beginning in 1993, Cavallo spent the next three years as the Executive Chef for Giorgio Armani's restaurants in Beverly Hills, Boston and Costa Mesa, where he developed a following from the Hollywood celebrities that frequently dined there. At Giorgio Armani, Cavallo received excellent reviews and was honored in 1994 as the "Best New Chef of the Year" in Los Angeles Magazine.

Cavallo next took a position as Executive Chef at the Hyatt Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose. He was in charge of all restaurant, banquet and catering facilities at the historic hotel. He oversaw the food and beverage events for the NHL All- star weekend and Major League soccer's San Jose Earthquakes inaugural season opening Gala.

In 1997, Cavallo was hired as Corporate Executive Chef/Director of Operations for the D'Angelo Corporation. He oversaw restaurants in Mill Valley, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. He launched D'Angelo Catering which still oversees all the banquet facilities at the Hotel Aqua, Mill Valley Inn and Tiburon Inn.

In November 1999, Carlo Cavallo opened Sonoma-Meritâge Martini/ Oyster Bar & Grill, which is now considered one of the Wine Country's best restaurants. Carlo was drawn to Sonoma because of the similarities to his Italian hometown of Verona. "I opened Meritâge in the heart of Sonoma's world renowned Wine Country expressly to take advantage of the year round abundance of locally grown fresh products, artisan food producers, and superior wines", stated Chef Carlo. For Cavallo, Meritage offers the perfect venue to blend his European heritage with California's Wine Country sophistication.

He is one of the founders of the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival and serves as its Culinary Director. He is also the Culinary Director of the Cinema Epicuria, Sonoma Valley Film festival. Chef Carlo is also a culinary instructor at Ramekins cooking school. His catering company serves several Sonoma and Napa valley wineries for private functions. Additionally, he cooks for many top winery owners privately including Robert Mondavi, Richard Arrowood, Bob Sessions, Bruce Cohn, and the Sebastiani family, among others.

Chef Carlo has appeared on National TV on the Food Network, CNN's On the Menu, Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert on PBS, In Wine Country on NBC and the ABC morning news. He has been featured on Japanese and French Television programs. His recipes and restaurants have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Gourmet, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine News, La Cucina Italiana, Chef magazine, Conde Nast, Food and Wine, San Francisco Chronicle, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and Marin Independent Journal as well as several other publications.

He has cooked for former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi and the English Earl of Kent, as well as other European aristocracy. He was selected to cater a luncheon for the Pentagon's Lieutenant General Joseph H. Wehrle when the General hosted 30 foreign liaison Brigadier Generals from around the world at Buena Vista Winery. Some of his celebrity clients have been Luciano Pavarotti, Arnold Swartzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Pricilla Presley, Michael Keaton, Court
Years in the Industry
18 years

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Carlo Cavallo's Blog

Ramblings of Political Chef

Sad to see the restaurateur in Pennsylvania lost his lawsuit against the critic (sued for slander)…. I’ve read many a restaurant review over the years and have found that more often than not they (the restaurant critic) has NO idea about cuisine or what they are eating…and how restaurants operate…I’ll cite a personal example….one reviewer described my Meyer Lemon Napoleon as having a wonderful “caramelized whipped cream topping” I guess the shameless/nameless critic didn’t know what a Meringue… Continue

Posted on March 30, 2008 at 3:10pm — 13 Comments

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At 1:40pm on June 6, 2008, Bonnie O'Callaghan said…
Hi I am Bonnie O'Callaghan your account manager from Food Buyers Network. I sent you an email with a link for our registration form. When you get a minute please fill it out so we can begin helping you save money. Look forward to hearing from you.
Bonnie O'Callaghan
At 1:03pm on May 29, 2008, ULTRATHIN PIZZA GIRL said…
Hi There!!

My name is Caitlin I am the west coast regional manager for Ultrathin Pizza Shells and Flatbreads, my families company based out of NY. I recently moved to LA to launch our products to the west coast. We have a great line of delicous thin crusts & flatbreads that work very well in upscale casual restaurants, catering halls and resorts. I would love an opportunity to show you or your menu developers our products at some point in the future. Please check out our website and let me know what you think.
At 6:12am on April 23, 2008, said…
Ciao Carlo, come stai?

Qui la primavera sta timidamente arrivando. Ieri ero in Liguria, a San Remo da "Paolo e Barbara", lo conosci? Credo che Paolo abbia più o meno la tua età... Mentre ero in treno ho letto un articolo sulla S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Cosa ne pensi?
Sull'argomento ho scritto un post sul blog:
At 3:07pm on March 28, 2008, said…
Ciao Carlo,

grazie per l'invito, davvero stuzzicante, peccato che la meta sia un po' lontana, sei salvo ;)

La settimana scorsa ho mangiato un piatto eccezionale: straccetti di pasta di polenta con finanziera (do you know it? is a Piemonte traditional dish) e scaloppa di foie gras. Da perdere la testa! i manderò una foto che ho scattato.

Scusa se rispondo in italiano ma sto partendo per Roma e vado un po' di fretta. A Roma non ho internet quindi potrò riprendere questa conversazione al mio ritorno in Piemonte, fra una settimana circa.

Buon weekend, ciao ciao

Maria Luisa
At 8:59pm on March 26, 2008, Adam R. Cox said…
Thanks for joining FOHBOH. I am Adam R. Cox and I created the Pacific NorthWest Food Network. I have found FOHBOH very helpful over the past few months of my joining. With all the resources available I know you will too. Please drop by my page and say hello!


Adam R. Cox
At 3:53pm on March 26, 2008, said…
Ciao Carlo,

Verona is a beautiful town, in the restaurant "Il Desco" I ate my first scaloppa di foie gras al Torcolato... a mystic experience :) it became one of my favorite dishes.

If you have been worked in Milan you know Gualtiero Marchesi, Carlo Cracco... I have great admiration for Marchesi (he left Milan and now he has a Relais in Franciacorta, you know?), he has a consulancy in Rome too, but is not going very well.

Mee too I have not relatives in Rome, but I feel Rome as my own town even if I prefer Piemonte's cuisine.

Do in USA Michelin stars are so important for restaurants than in Italy?


Maria Luisa
At 5:40pm on March 25, 2008, Andy Swingley said…
Hello Carlo! Welcome to FOHBOH. My name is Andy Swingley. This is such an awesome site for sharing your ideas and learning some cool stuff! Check out my page for some great groups to join!

Looking forward to talking to you!
At 12:01pm on March 25, 2008, said…
Ciao Carlo,

ehm... parli italiano? because my english is not very elegant!
I visited your restaurant website and I found it very nice! "J'adore" oysters ;) and fishfood, and crustaceans, and Champagne, and...

Your work experiencies are very interesting, I hope we'll know better.

I know very well Milan. I was born in Piemonte and I live between North Italy and Rome where I started my website project. I also write for a National Restaurant Guide.

About Rome restaurant, ask me everytime you need any info! I know all top chefs and some of them are my friends. If you can't find me, visite the website or write to my account:

Happy to met you,

Maria Luisa




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