AS AN INTERNATIONAL
RESTAURATEUR & ENTREPENEUR,
Francesco Panella has always been inspired by the stories and traditions which are honored through food.
Born and raised in Rome, Francesco grew up in the restaurant industry, with Antica Pesa, his family-owned establishment since 1922. Francesco transformed this singular restaurant into an internationally acclaimed brand well established worldwide in the culinary scene with a New York location since 2012, Antica Pesa Brooklyn. In 2019 Francesco opened a new restaurant in partnership with Tao Group called Feroce in Manhattan, and he continues to work as a consultant in creating unique concepts and formats for the industry.
His energy and determination have been shared through his popular television programs aired throughout the past decade in Europe, as his restaurant career also transitioned to include numerous television broadcasts, including: “Il Mio Piatto Preferito” a program which ran for three seasons on Gambero Rosso Channel HD, & on digital platform Sky; “Brooklyn Man” a tv show shot in NYC which aired in 2013 for six consecutive seasons on Gambero Rosso and became a bestselling book in 2014, published in Italian by Newton Compton Editore; and “Little Big Italy” a program which first aired in 2018 on Discovery Channel’s Nove and is now in its fourth consecutive season after consistently proving to be one of the most viewed and top-rated shows on the channel. Additionally, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Francesco began working with Discovery Channel for a new television program, "Riaccendiamo i Fuochi" which will focus on overcoming current challenges within the hospitality industry, airing on Nove October 26th, 2020.
His food industry expertise has been shared countless times with media outlets, including broadcast and book publications. He continues to give a voice to those who lend meaningful stories to the international food industry's gastronomic culture.
For his humanitarian work, Francesco has become one of the most highly praised Italian restauranteurs amongst his peers, audience, and in the media with many critically acclaimed awards for his work.
In 2009 he was awarded "Cavaliere del Commercio” by Mayor of Rome, Mr. Gianni Alemanno, and in 2011 he was awarded “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by President of the Italian Republic Mr. Giorgio Napolitano. Francesco also continues to work through charitable organizations to help give a voice to those in need. He frequently spends time working with homeless shelters, food organizations, and public schools throughout Italy and New York. He was awarded in 2011 for his charitable efforts by Children for Peace in addition to being recognized by Pope Francis in 2015 for his humanitarian work. Francesco was awarded in 2012 for “National Excellence” by Gambero Rosso for its 25th anniversary, also in 2016, he was given a prestigious award from the National Italian American Foundation for Italian Excellence for his work at Antica Pesa. In September of 2020 Learn Italy awarded Francesco with the "Anniversary International Award" for his creativity and innovation within the vastly changing post-pandemic hospitality industry. On November 3, 2020, Francesco was interviewed by Nicola Porro on the program “Alla Notte Americana“ regarding the American Election and the restaurant industry. Additionally, in December 2020, Francesco became a “National Campaign Leader for UNICEF“.