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 Zeffirino Restaurant History


Zeffirino Gian Paolo Belloni

It’s 1939 and Zeffirino Belloni opens his family restaurant in Genoa.

Nine years later Zeffirino’s ten-year old son Gian Paolo begins his life’s work in the family business.

Over four generations and over six decades later Gian Paolo, along with his wife Giannina, continue to mesmerize us with the special cuisine.  Known as “the Pope’s Pesto Maker” Gian Paolo’s curriculum vitae is quite extensive.

A professor of the Italian School for professiona foreign cooks, and at various Institiuti Professionali Alberghieri (hotel schools), Gian Paolo Belloni is a member of the Ordine Historatori Porfessionisti Italiani.

Among the many awards he has received during his long career are the 1987 prestigious prize as a disciple of Auguste Escoffier which he received in Canries (this is considered by many to be the highest international gastronomic award), and the certificate of the Accademia Italiana della cucina and the Grand Cordon d’Or in Monaco in 1988.   He received, the following year, the prestigious certificate of the Federazione Cuochi, stating that he could enter the Collegium Cocorum, a club that admites only professionals who have proved their skills for 25 years. 

In 1990 Gian Paolo was awarded the European Golden Medal for his restaurant’s 50 years existence.  In Germany he was awarded a certificate from the Federation International Cuisiniere Exclusive d’Europa and was appointed Maitre Rotisseur de la Confreirie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Association Mordiale de la Gastronomie.  In 1992, during the celebration for Christopher Columbus, Gian Paolo received the Premio della Citta di Genova and the Mayor appointed him Ambassador of Genoese and Italian cuisine to the world.

Both Gian Paolo and Giannina were in Melbourne in 1991 when Gian Paolo was appointed Special Ambassador to the City of Melbourne. In 1993 he was appointed Cavaliere della Republica and in1994 he was awarded the Cordon d’Or with the title of Gran Maestro dell’Accademia Gastronomica Italiana.

The chef has cooked for Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Sophia Loren and many international celebrities. As well, he has personally presented the Pope with his pesto, which he was delighted to accept.

Gian Paolo Belloni’s inspired cuisine exemplifies his love of natural ingredients married with his refined versions of the simple local dishes of his beloved Genoa.

In honor of his father and the original family restaurant, Gian Paolo brings to The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, Ristorante Zeffirino.



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