Sunderland chef named best in England for the second year running

Nello Russo
Nello Russo
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The pasta master’s done it again!

Nello Russo from Angelo’s is bringing home the title of English Italian Chef of the Year at the national English Italian Awards for the second year running.

Nello and Federico at this year's awards

Nello and Federico at this year's awards

The chef, who oversees the kitchens at the business’ two Wearside sites, wowed judges including celebrity chef and restaurateur Aldo Zilli with a dish of lamb with pistachio and home-made ravioli with aubergine.

Not only did Nello bring home the coveted chef title, the original Angelo’s in Sunniside won Best Restaurant in the North East with over 50 seats, while its new sister venue, Angelo’s Trattoria in East Rainton, scooped Best Restaurant in the North East with under 50 seats.

Nello and business partner Federico Trulli competed against Italian restaurants from across the country at the awards final held in Manchester.

More than 2,000 venues entered the awards, which launched last year in a bid to celebrate the wealth of Italian restaurants in England.

Federico and Nello at the East Rainton site

Federico and Nello at the East Rainton site

Federico said: “We are ecstatic to win these awards for the second year running and it shows how hard work pays off. It was a great night for us and for Sunderland. Nello had some great feedback on his dish, the judges said it was outstanding and we’ll be serving it in the two restaurants now.”

After establishing a successful restaurant in West Sunniside, the partners decided to take over the former The Olde Ships Inn in East Rainton and invested £25,000 in transforming it from a nautical-themed pub into a rustic Italian restaurant.

Federico said: “We feel particularly proud to have won for the trattoria just four months after opening. Opening outside of the city centre was a different market for us but it’s going really well. We’re getting some great feedback from our customers.”

Celebrating last year's win at Angelo's in West Sunniside

Celebrating last year's win at Angelo's in West Sunniside