As a scholar-athlete at Columbia University in the mid 1980’s, Daniele Baliani left soccer and the classroom to reconnect with his Roman roots and pursue a career in cooking. Though a complete novice at the time, Baliani marched into the kitchen of the world famous Le Cirque restaurant in Manhattan and persuaded (a then-unknown) Daniel Boulud to take him under his wing.
While finishing his degree, Baliani began an old-world apprenticeship with Chef Boulud who subsequently shipped him off to Europe to further his culinary education in the kitchens of true masters: Alain Ducasse at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and Pierre Herme' at the famed Patisserie Fauchon in Paris. Following that year in France, he moved back to the land of his upbringing and worked in Michelin star restaurants in Tuscany and Liguria in what can only be described as a living fairytale. He was all of 23 years old.
By the mid 90s, Baliani had moved to Boston and made a name for himself first as chef de cuisine at the acclaimed Back Bay restaurant Pignoli, which received three and a half stars from the Boston Globe, and from 2009-12 as Chef de Cuisine at Belmont’s Il Casale, which was named one of New England’s Best Italian restaurants by Boston Magazine.
As befitting his eclectic background, Baliani has created several niches for himself within the industry. He has been a consulting chef to Fortune 500 brands including Barilla, Nestle' and Freschetta Pizza. He was the founder and operator of a meal-delivery service in Manhattan called My Befana and since 2001 he has played the role of educator and businessman as sole proprietor of a boutique travel company Pantheon Adventures, which specializes in gastronomic and cultural tours of the Mediterranean basin.