This week, iconic Vancouver-based chef and restaurateur Umberto Menghi was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy for his outstanding lifelong contribution to the promotion and preservation of Italian cuisine and culture in Canada.
One of the country’s first pioneers of fresh, authentic Italian dining, Menghi has opened numerous restaurants since arriving in Canada from Tuscany decades ago, including landmark culinary destinations like Giardino, Il Caminetto, and La Trattoria.
“Umberto Menghi is an ambassador of the finest Italian cuisine in Vancouver and British Columbia at large,” said Italian Minister of Forreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio. “As one of the first restaurateurs to establish authentic Italian restaurants in B.C., he has trained generations of chefs, promoting and fostering true Italian traditions, which he has always been deeply fond of.”
In addition to his work championing Italian cuisine at each of his restaurants, Menghi has also established a culinary school in Tuscany, starred in his own cooking show, and has authored five books on Italian cuisine.
“I’ve been doing what I love for the entirety of my career,” says Menghi. “When I arrived in Vancouver in 1969, all I wanted to do was cook fresh, Italian cuisine exactly how we would enjoy it in Italy. I had no idea where life would take me back then, but I’m glad to have spread my joy and commitment to Italian food, far and wide. I am at once humbled and honoured to receive the Ordine Della Stella D’Italia.”
Menghi will be officially conferred a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy during a special awards ceremony that is scheduled to take place during the 75th Italian National Day in June 2021.