Danilo Orofino (right) and Chef Oscar Ilardi  (left)
In this 14 November photo, Danilo Orofino (right) and Chef Oscar Ilardi (left) demonstrate how to make tiramisu during a cooking class in the Orofino kitchen. Orofino hosts up to three cooking classes every month which feature an ever-changing suite of recipes based on the culinary traditions of any one of Italy’s 20 unique regions.

Danilo Orofino was born in Palermo, Sicily, where he studied the culinary arts as well as restaurant and hotel management. He opened his first restaurant/coffee bar in Sicily at the age of 18. After 4 years of hard work, he closed the place with dreams of doing even more with his life.

It was on his first vacation to the United States, that he began to realize that dream. He packed his things and began a new life in New York City. He knew no English, nor did he understand the American culture around food, but he knew that this was a country in which he could achieve anything.

He began work in an Italian grocery/deli and started to build a life in New York. After grasping more of the language, he applied to be a server at one of the hottest new eateries in Manhattan, Eataly. It was in that restaurant that he met the woman that would eventually become his wife and business partner.  After 2 years at this establishment, he was approached by a business owner in Fredericksburg, VA and he and his wife, Alona, embarked on a move to Virginia.

Danilo then began to run a very popular restaurant in Fredericksburg called Basilico. He spent several years watching it grow while learning the ins and outs of running a restaurant in America. He enjoyed his time at Basilico as he fed people spoonfuls of gelato and won the hearts of Fredericksburgers and travelers alike; but when the opportunity came to open a restaurant of his own, he knew that it was time.

His experience in Italy and New York, as well as Fredericksburg gave him all the tools needed to create a restaurant that exudes his passion for great food, Italian culture, and an overall special dining experience.