Aldo Ortado grew up near Naples, in southern Italy, where sharing food was the essence of daily life. Each day his Nonna Lucia would ask him what he wanted for lunch and dinner, and he recalls always asking for pasta with cannellini beans and fresh mussels.
Nonna Lucia’s cooking wasn’t fancy, but it was all about fresh ingredients and comfort eating. And these early lessons from his beloved Nonna saw him become a hugely popular contestant on MasterChef Australia in 2018.
Aldo’s MasterChef appearance is perhaps best remembered for his effervescent TV debut, screaming enthusiastic encouragement for the Nonna of a fellow contestant – and for the genuine support he showed his MasterChef cohorts throughout the show. Remaining true to his cooking roots also endeared him to the viewing public.
After leaving school in 2009, Aldo moved to Rome to study statistics (he has a double degree in Business and Economics) and, 4 years later, headed to Sydney, seeking new adventures. He started working front-of-house for an event and catering business, before becoming manager at Italian restaurant, Giro Osteria in Cronulla.
When the MasterChef Australia journey comes to an end, Aldo hopes to open his own café and restaurant, focusing on classic southern Italian food with a relaxed feel during the day, transforming into a fine dining experience at night. He says he wants the feel to reflect that of his childhood – a place where from the time you step inside, you feel like you’ve arrived home.
Visit Aldo’s Instagram to see more.