Alessandro Pirozzi, award winning Chef and owner of Mare Culinary Lounge and Alessa Laguna, has found great success in Orange County, but it didn’t happen overnight.
Pirozzi, now 41, opened his first restaurant in Newport Beach only five years ago. Combining his charming personality and his time-honored family recipes Pirozzi has created an authentic taste of Italy on Pacific Coast Highway.
Born in Naples, Italy, Pirozzi was the youngest of four children and the only boy. Growing up in a house full of girls was a constant challenge but fortunately for him, whenever the girls were teasing him, his grandmother, Nonna Ida, would rescue him and take him into the safety of her kitchen to help prepare dinner.
The kitchen became his sanctuary. He fell in love with the different aromas, the flavors and learning the traditional techniques of preparing fresh homemade pasta. It was here that he learned the many secret family recipes and began his journey to become a Certified Italian Chef.
Nonna Ida taught him how to grow every vegetable and herb he needed for cooking in his own backyard. She also taught him the methods for preparing focaccia dough and exactly what it takes to make the bread rise and not deflate into worthless putty.
His family believed that fresh herbs were key to making the best possible foods. Alessandro maintained the herb garden and eventually began growing different types of tomatoes and squash, all of which would inevitably become part of his recipe for success in America.
Pirozzi’s passion for food and his quest to become certified became his way of life and prompted him to learn the cuisine from every region in Italy. He discovered regional secrets to impeccable pizza; mastered meat preparation, including the perfect veal saltimbocca and became versed in many different sauces.
Following the great success of the Alessa family of restaurants Pirozzi opened his new Mare Culinary Lounge in May 2012. The new restaurant and lounge offer traditional Italian cuisine with Pirozzi’s unique flair. The new lounge serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and features a late night menu.
When dinner ends the lights come down and the music goes up at Laguna Beach’s newest late-night destination. (Mare is open till 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday with full bar and dancing.)
The culinary journey that began in southern Italy brought Alessandro to southern California where today he shares his family recipes to great acclaim. The Chef of the Year (Riviera Magazine) has Mare Culinary Lounge and Alessa Laguna Beach for dining, drinks and great memories.