Carla Pellegrino, Executive Chef and Partner, courtesy of Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen

Fabulous People: Carla Pellegrino

Carla Pellegrino is the executive chef of Las Vegas-based Limoncello, a restaurant that was created with the goal of bringing Italian culture and fresh artisan cuisine to the local community. “We love being able to share our culinary craft and passion for providing a memorable dining experience.” Learn about Chef Carla Pellegrino…

Hometown: Las Vegas

First job: My first restaurant as an executive chef was Baldoria in the heart of NYC’s theater district, which I opened and owned from May 2000 to 2009.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in NV: I love to run in open spaces and go hiking – just being out in nature in general.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment was opening Rao’s Las Vegas as a co-owner with my ex-husband, Frank Pellegrino, Jr., at Caesars Palace. Opening on the Las Vegas Strip is by invitation only, which means you are doing your work just right.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle has been being a female in male-dominated industry. Only 28 percent of executive chefs are females, and only about 19 percent make the same salary as the male chefs. I am among that 19 percent and very proud of it; however, these statistics are changing, and hopefully it will continue to happen rapidly so that we will all have equal value soon.

Someone who inspires you and why: Jacques Pépin, who is a French chef, author and culinary instructor. He is simply incredible at what he does and is my mentor.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Be resilient and determined.

Favorite quote: “Follow your heart, work hard and money will follow, not the other way around.”

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am actually very shy.

What makes someone fabulous: Enjoying and finding joy in life! It’s priceless and contagious!

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