Alberto Gazzola, Executive chef, Proprietor

When you grow up making your own pasta, eating bread baked that morning, and getting your meat and produce from the market down the road, “fresh” food is not a concept you need to learn. Alberto Gazzola had such an upbringing in the town of Varese in northwestern Italy.

From an early age Alberto was drawn to food and the kitchen. While his four sibling played outside, he would linger stove-side learning the art and craft of Italian home cooking.

While his cooking education began at home, Alberto learned the restaurant/food business working as an apprentice butcher, running a paninoteca (restaurant/bar) and learned the art of commercial cooking at local restaurant and finally at La Vecchia Varese, a progressive restaurant in his hometown. Over the course of five years, Alberto worked his way up to become chef at La Vecchia Varese where seasonal produce, locally raised meat and regional flavors defined the menu.

In 1989, a vacation to Reno, Nevada changed the course of Chef Gazzola's life. The beauty of the Sierra Nevada, a chance opportunity to help open an Italian restaurant and the promise of a new adventure convinced Alberto to stay. After living here a year, he opened La Vecchia Varese on West Street in downtown Reno, named for the restaurant in his hometown where he perfected his craft.

During the last 21 years chef Gazzola has evolved his style of Italian cooking with classic Italian influence and innovative preparations. The menu reflect regional and progressive dishes with emphasis on in house made ravioli and pastas. 

When Alberto isn’t creating in the kitchen, he likes to hit the throttle. Besides cooking and his family – wife Tomomi and son Luca – Alberto’s passion is motorcycle riding. And while his hometown of Varese is home to such celebrated Italian brands as Cagiva and MV Agusta, Alberto is a diehard Ducati man and President of DesmoReno, the Northern Nevada Ducati Owners Club.