Chef Geno Bernardo
Chef Geno Bernardo was born in New York to a northern Italian mother and Sicilian father. His rich Italian heritage has always been an inspiration to him, and his fondest childhood memories are of cooking with “Nana” as a young boy. Those early Sundays with Nana were the humble beginnings of his lifelong journey through the culinary world.
Bernardo began his professional career at just 16, cooking at Massimo’s, an Italian restaurant in his New Jersey neighborhood. These early experiences fueled the passion that first emerged in Nana’s kitchen. The aspiring chef attended culinary school at prestigious Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, Rhode Island, from which he graduated at the top of his class. After graduation, he was recruited by Boston’s Fellini’s Italian Restaurant, where he worked two years before accepting a position with Restaurant Associates in New York. Cooking at the company’s Café Centro and Naples 45, he was received by a loyal clientele and critical acclaim. The hallmarks of Bernardo’s style are the thoughtful use of the freshest fish and finest seasonal produce.
His affinity for seafood led him to San Diego, where he boldly broke from his Italian heritage to learn the craft of a sushi chef. At Sushi on the Rock, Bernardo’s efforts were rewarded, as the restaurant was voted “Best Sushi in San Diego.” Armed with an appreciation for Japanese discipline and aesthetics, he returned to Western cooking as Sous Chef at Sally’s on the Waterfront at the Grand Manchester Hyatt before serving as Senior Sous Chef at the Marriott Hotel San Diego. For Bernardo’s first Executive Chef position, he returned to Rhode Island to run the kitchen at the Providence Oyster Bar, which opened to outstanding reviews and enthusiastic public response. When the Oyster Bar owners debuted a steakhouse, Providence Prime, they tapped Bern’ardo to serve as their Executive Chef.
Bernardo joined the N9NE Group to develop Nove Italiano, and with Bernardo in the kitchen, Nove Italianohas become one of Las Vegas’s most acclaimed Italian restaurants. Just as N9NE Steakhouse, the group’s original restaurant concept, revolutionized the American steakhouse, Nove ltaliano redefines Italian dining. Bernardo collaborated with Chef Michael Kornick, N9NE Group’s James Beard-nominated consulting chef and partner, and N9NE Group Executive Chef Barry Dakake to create the menu for the restaurant located on the 51st floor of the Fantasy Tower at the Palms Casino Resort. Together, these chefs create Las Vegas’ most memorable contemporary dining experiences.
Adding to his list of accomplishments, in 2008, Bernardo was nominated for Star Chef. In addition, he was the featured guest chef at UNLVino Chef Artisan Dinner in 2009 and was the participating Executive Chef for Chef Dance in 2010.