Chef Daniele Corona grew up in a family of foodies.
“In my family, we have a lot of food lovers, especially my uncle, who is also a chef,” says Corona, adding his culinary inspiration comes from his time in the family kitchen in his native Naples. “When I was 13, we had Christmas dinner — all the family together — and I remember helping my uncle prepare the food. In Italy, everyone loves food and we are passionate when it comes to both eating and cooking.”
Corona parlayed that passion into a successful career that has seen him cook under some of the most respected chefs in the world, many of whom have been awarded with Michelin Stars.
After graduating with a Culinary diploma from I.P.S.E.O.A. Duca Di Buonvicino, Corona made his way to Milan to work at Trussardi alla scala, where he was part of the team that earned the restaurant one Michelin star. He then joined the team at Oliver Glowig, a 2 Michelin-star restaurant in Rome.
“During this experience, I decided that I want to spend my career in this kind of restaurant,” he recalls. “That’s why most of my career so far is in Michelin-star restaurants.”
Corona quickly built his reputation in the world of the Italian culinary arts and eventually caught the eye of renowned chef Ernesto laccarino. The Michelin-starred chef recognized the young chef’s talent and potential and took him under his wing at Don Alfonso 1890.
In 2018, Corona moved to moved to Canada from the Amalfi Coast to take the reins as executive chef of Liberty Entertainment Group’s Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto — which showcases the legacy of Ernesto Iaccarino — to execute the award-winning details of the original restaurant’s cuisine. Corona leads a team of about 20 kitchen staff, including dishwashers, who he says do “the most essential job.”
Under Corona’s leadership, Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto has been named Best Italian Restaurant in the World 2022 – Prosecco DOC Award by the prestigious 50 Top Italy and been awarded Meal of the Year 2022 Mulino – Caputo Award, for its multicourse prix fixe tasting menu.
The 36-year-old chef describes his culinary style as “minimal and flavourful, with an explosion in each bite” and a focus on fresh, local ingredients. While his favourite dish is pasta (“I’m Italian, we eat pasta every day”), when he’s not at work, Corona enjoys cooking his wife’s favourite dish, risotto. “At the restaurant, we’re famous for our risotto.”
Looking forward, Corona says he hopes to continue his career at Don Alfonso 1890 and help the brand innovate and launch new concepts. “That’s my dream and hopefully it can come true,” he says.
For now, he’s busy preparing for the restaurant’s grand opening at its new permanent location in Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle.
“The team at Don Alfonso 1890 and I are extremely excited to open our permanent location, which we have been anxiously anticipating,” he says. “We are very fortunate that our fantastic new space in the Westin Harbour Castle Toronto is such an iconic site for our unique concept. The 38th floor boasts one of the best views of the city, and Nadia Di Donato’s design features a stunning open kitchen where we not only have the best views of any kitchen, but also have the opportunity to interact with our guests and showcase our kitchen in action.”
By Amy Bostock