Stefano Manfredi Stefano Manfredi has influenced the way we eat since first opening The Restaurant Manfredi in 1983 (Three Chefs Hats from 1993). Since then, Manfredi has owned and operated several restaurants in Sydney, most notably the award winning Restaurant Manfredi (1983-1996) and Bel Mondo (1996-2002). In 2007, Stefano took the helm at Manfredi at Bells (One Chefs Hat – 2008 to present; Good Living Sustainability Award; Best Regional Wine List - 2012 SMH Good Food Guide Awards). Here he has overseen the planting of 500 square meters of gardens, supplying the restaurant with approximately 15% of its produce. Throughout his career, Stefano has also written frequently on food and cooking, published four books the most recent ‘Stefano Manfredi’s Italian food ‘ released November 2013, presented master classes, made local and international television appearances, hosted cooking tours in Italy and remained a passionate advocate for local, sustainable and seasonal produce.
Gabriele Taddeucci is Balla’s Head Chef. After a stint working at Sydney’s Hotel Westin in 2004/2005, Taddeucci moved in 2008 to work alongside chef Massimo Bianchi to open Uccello at Merivale’s Ivy. Most recently, he was Head Chef at Merivale’s The Beresford. Taddeucci started his career as a pizza hand in his home city of Lucca back in 1994. His work as a chef has taken him from Italy to France, Switzerland, the US, UK and Australia.
Balla’s Restaurant Manager, Luca Carichini, most recently worked closely with Stefano as Restaurant Supervisor at Manfredi at Bells. Carichini has had a long history in hospitality in both Italy and the UK. When he travelled to Australia in 2007, he did so to become the Restaurant Manager of North Bondi Italian. Carichini made his move to Australia permanent and has worked with Stefano Manfredi since that time.
Born and raised under the Tuscan sun, Francesco took a decisive likes to the chef’s whites from an early age. A fter completing his study courses, he went on to train at the iconic "Cantinetta Antinori", working for wine maker and producer “Marchesi Antinori”. His professional chefs career kick started back in Florence, back in 1996, where he went on to work for some of the city’s most awarded and renowned Restaurants and hotels. In 2008 he then decided to make the long move to Australia, and when in Sydney, he went on to develop his culinary skills and abilities under the celebrated Chef Peter Doyle at Est and subsequently at Bistrode CBD, where he took on the position of Sous Chef under Head Chef Jeremy Strode. Here is where Francesco had the opportunity to be exposed to different cuisine styles and techniques, and eventually went on to develop his own new palette of flavours, all including a fusion of “rustic Tuscan cucina” combined with a more modern new age Australian touch, all with a delicate and contemporary flavour freshness. His long term friendship and collaboration with Balla Head Chef Gabriele Taddeucci also meant their careers did cross path over time, and once the opportunity to start something new with Stefano Manfredi came about, he went on to open Osteria Balla Manfredi at THE STAR. Francesco has been an instrumental part of the Balla team since the very beginning and to these days, he is still a key component not only for the kitchen team, but for all of the management. Always very attached to his Florentine’s roots, he will always try to add his very own touch of Tuscany onto the Balla’s menu.
Piero advanced to Sommelier at Balla after 16 months in Australia under the watchful eye of Stefano, a fitting progression for Fonseca who grew up on a winery outside of Florence. Fonseca developed his knowledge of viticulture before the age of 18 as he assisted his father each summer during harvest on their family vineyard, Petreto. He joined his father in the cellar making several different varieties and his love grew over the next seven years as he presented the wine at Italian wine shows including Vinitaly. Petreto was awarded at international wine shows in the USA and Spain, including third amongst all participants at Spanish Vinoble in 2010. Wine wasn’t always Fonseca’s intended career direction, who graduated from the University of Florence in 2012 with a Bachelor degree in Criminal Law. A profession he now recognises will not be pursuit, the study has taught him personal discipline and many transferrable life skills. During the six years of study, Fonseca continued his hobby, broadening his knowledge of wine by attending master classes, peer winery tastings and also spent the summer of 2006 working in the wine industry in London. Since arriving in Australia, his passion for wine and the hospitality industry has thrived under Stefano and the Balla family. Inspired and honoured to be working with such experience, Fonseca will continue to deliver a unique all-Italian wine list at Balla, with an eagerness to import some of his father’s wine to treat Balla guests.