The owner of Aldo's Italian Kitchen, Emanuele Cognetti, was born in the northern Italian city of Parma, which is famous for its Parmesan cheese and Parma ham. His grandfather, Endrea Cognetti, owned a deli and a dairy farm and employed his sons, including Cognetti’s father, Aldo Cognetti.
“I’ve been in the business since I was a baby, around kitchens and food,” Cognetti said. “When I was a little boy I would help out by rolling wheels of cheese, slicing the cold cuts, and making the prosciutto and salami.”
Emanuele attended culinary school and then sailed around the world as a waiter for the Home Lines passenger shipping company. Before settling in New York City in the early 1980s, he visited Germany, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Portugal and England. Once in the states, Cognetti eventually worked his way in restaurants to Washington, D.C., where he managed chef Roberto Donna’s flagship restaurant Galileo. He then opened Barolo Ristorante with Donna and Enzo Fargione, and after it closed was the manager at A La Lucia for 10 years in Old Town.
Cognetti said that his heart will always be in Italy, but that the road to Alexandria has been fulfilling. One thing’s for sure, though – just like back in Italy, you’ll always find fresh Parmesan cheese at Aldo’s.
Written by Carolanne Wilson, The Zebra
Emanuele is very personable. You’ll be amazed, if you sit here long enough he will call everyone by name and he knows a lot of things about them, and you don’t get that most places.
-David LeGrande(Frequent Guest)
I always wanted to have my own place, my father was a positive man, and he had a hard life. I think he would be very proud.