Carla Pellegrino, once Carla Madeira, was born in Rio de Janeiro to a Portuguese father and a second-generation Italian mother. As early as age 10, Carla was cooking daily for her family and helping run her mother's catering business, which educated her in the preparation of traditional Brazilian, Italian and Portuguese cuisine. At age sixteen, Carla moved to Liguria, Italy, opening a small store where her passion for cooking inspired her to conduct cooking demonstrations daily.

In 1997, travels brought her to the United States. She attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and in 2000, graduated with honors. In May 2000, she and Frank Pellegrino Jr. opened and successfully established Baldoria Restaurant on 49th street and Broadway at the heart of NYC's theater district.

At the end of 2006, a dream became a reality and Carla lead the culinary team as the executive chef to open Rao’s Las Vegas. Committed to culinary tradition, she took ten of the original recipes from the legendary East Harlem's Italian restaurant and added her own North Italian cuisine.  Carla effectively built a high volume menu concept keeping in mind quality of ingredients and consistency while translating and honoring the essence of the family’s original Rao’s ten table restaurant since 1896. Pellegrino successfully led the culinary team to host significant events including cooking at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City in 2008 and 2009.

Carla teamed up with the new Tropicana Las Vegas to reinvent the resort’s Italian ristorante as “Bacio by Carla Pellegrino.” The new Bacio menu spotlights authentic Italian recipes with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients.  The resort recently reinvented itself with a $180 million renovation.

Simultaneously with Bacio’s opening in 2011, Pellegrino, opened her second venue, Bratalian Neopolitan Cantina, an intimate neighborhood restaurant focusing on simplistic flavorful Italian home-style cuisine in a relaxed picturesque setting replicating Naples.  Her skill and memorable dishes quickly earned Bratalian notable awards such as the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas – 2012” and “Best of Henderson – 2011, 2012.”

Pellegrino’s mantra is “As a chef, I am conscious of cooking healthy food while making sure that I keep Italian cuisine authentic. Italian food is not only about pasta, cheese and heavy cream; authentic Italian cuisine is based upon fresh ingredients made from scratch, lots of seafood, grilled chops, oven-roasted fishes and vegetables cooked in every flavorful way possible.”

Pellegrino’s abundant passion for simplistic cooking coupled with culinary expertise has earned her acclaimed awards and distinguished invitations to host and cook at the James Beard House five times.

She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Fox News National, Throwdown with Bobby Flay (which she won), Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and multiple other national and local news outlets.

While her time is spent welcoming guests in her current restaurants and finishing her first cookbook, Carla never forgets to enjoy being a recognizable woman chef on the Vegas Strip and continues to dream of her next big venture.


"Chef Carla Pellegrino participated as a cheftestant on Top Chef 10 Seattle"
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