A renowned chef and cookbook author, Locale Market partner and culinary director Don Pintabona has created an illustrious career for himself over the past 30 years. His innate talent for cooking, extensive management experience and vast food studies in more than three dozen countries, have made Don a well-respected member of the culinary community.
Born a first-generation Italian in Oceanside, New York, Don grew up surrounded by food. He spent his earliest years working at Grand Union Supermarket under is father’s tutelage and where he learned all aspects of the retail food business.
After receiving a business degree at The University of South Florida, Don drove a New York taxi to put himself through school at The Culinary Institute of American, where he graduated with honors in 1982. He spent the next ten years refining his skills on three continents, under top toques like Charlie Palmer and Daniel Boulud in New York, George Blanc in Vonnas, France and Kiyomi Nishitani in Osaka, Japan.
When Don returned to New York in 1990, he met actor Robert De Niro. Impressed with his skills and ideas, De Niro hired Don to be the Executive Chef of the widely acclaimed, Manhattan hot spot, Tribeca Grill. During his time there, Tribeca Grill earned many accolades including the 1998 Ivy Award for Excellence, the DiRoNa Award and Wine Spectator’s Grand Award of Excellence in 2002. Don authored the popular Tribeca Grill Cook Book, Villard 2000 which was followed by The Shared Table, Random House 2005.
After tragedy struck in September of 2001, Don spearheaded “Operation Chefs with Spirit” a campaign that brought the restaurant community together to feed over 750,000 hot meals to the relief works at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks. Newsweek Magazine featured Don as one New York’s pivotal figured during the relief efforts, as did a recently book by Tim Zagat entitled 9/11: Stories of Courage, Heroism and Generosity.
Don also sits on the board of the We Are Family Foundation, a charitable organization that focuses on empowering youth through the creation of a global teen coalition.
In December 2014 Don, along with chef / partner Michael Mina, opened Locale Market in St. Petersburg, Fla., Don oversees a more than 160 staff members at a 20,000-square-foot concept which includes gourmet grocery, bread bakery, pastry shop, fresh pasta, local fish market, butcher shop, and organic produce, in 11 kitchens, as well as a wine bar and private dining.