- Biography -
Inspired – that is one word to describe Antonio Tardi. His enthusiasm for the culinary arts began at the tender age of sixteen when his father Giuseppe encouraged him to explore the world of gastronomy. In pursuit of his dream, he completed university studies in his native Naples, Italy at the Luigi de Medici Institute and has since enjoyed a career that has taken him across Europe, the Americas, and in Asia.
“My father really supported me in choosing this field. And I remember him saying to me, ‘being a chef, you have the opportunity to travel around the world, meet new people, learn new cultures, and share experiences’ – this made me very excited about being a chef.”
In the early days, Antonio had the privilege of developing his skills under some of Western Europe’s most famed chefs including 3-star Michelin chef, Gualtiero Marchesi – who pioneered Italian nouvelle cuisine – in the legendary Grand Hotel Quisisana in Capri; Davide Oldani, at the one-star Michelin Ristorante Giannino in Milan; and Jean-Louis Nomicos, at the one-star Michelin La Grande Cascade in Paris. His expertise encompasses learning gained from these and other exquisite hotels and restaurants in Europe, including the two-star Michelin Ristorante San Domenico in Imola. He has also studied under World Pastry Champion, Luigi Biasetto in Padova, fine-tuning his pastry skills.
“Starting out at places like Quisisana was how I really grew a deep appreciation for Alta Cucina. After this experience was the beginning of my pursuit to always learn from the best.”
With a desire to seek new experiences, Antonio later accepted an opportunity with Sandals Resorts International which took him to the Caribbean. While a member of the team, he has had responsibilities ranging from menu planning for food outlets of varying cuisine to training personnel. Additionally, having played an integral role in the opening of several sister resorts including Sandals Dunn’s River Villaggio, Sandals Antigua, and the multi-million dollar Italian village at Beaches Turks & Caicos, Antonio can now be considered an expert at hotel openings.
“Sandals gave me something that I was looking for, which was to be a chef in a well-respected hotel company and share my knowledge. Living and working in the Caribbean has been an eye-opening experience for me, inspiring me to harmonise Mediterranean and Caribbean influences. Now I like all things hot and spicy!”
After spending time in the Caribbean, Antonio took on a new and exciting challenge for himself. He became a member of the team at the Shangri-la Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei. With the commencement of this role in Taiwan, he fulfilled one of his life’s goals by working in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I have always admired Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts, and am honoured to have been a part of the team. My introduction to the lovely Far Eastern Plaza in Taipei was an incredible experience.”
Chef Antonio then headed to Mainland China at the Shangri-la Guangzhou hotel, one of the largest food & beverage operations within the company. There he gained the intimate understanding of varying Chinese cuisine, as he helped to lead the culinary brigade.
Following his time in China, Antonio was then invited to India as the Executive Chef responsible for all pre-opening and initial operations of the Shangri-la Bengaluru hotel which opened its doors in September 2016. With 11 food outlets of diverse cuisines ranging from popular Eastern palates, to European and American tastes, the position required his expertise in a variety of functions drawing from Chef Antonio’s vast experience.
After just under 7 years of life in Asia, Antonio made the decision to make the move to North America. He transitioned into western Canada in the city of Calgary. As an avid cyclist, Antonio appreciates the great work-life balance that Calgary offers, all in the backdrop of the world-renowned Rocky Mountains.
“Calgary has a great vibe. It’s not an overwhelming city, is very family oriented, and allows you to easily get close to nature. I’ll be enjoying some epic bike rides here!”
As a self-directed and accomplished professional, Chef Antonio continues to seek to use the wealth of knowledge he has acquired in over 20 years in the hospitality industry in innovative and stimulating environments. His philosophy has always been to accentuate and appreciate the natural characteristics found in the products he creates his dishes from, and he continues to do so every day.
“I will never cease to discover new places, new people, and new cuisine.”