Joseph R. Gannascoli, a notable Hollywood actor with over a dozen and a half films under his belt, well-known for his portrayal of fictional Vito Spatafore, a character on hit HBO TV series The Sopranos. Vito was a member of the DiMeo Crime Family and a subordinate of Tony Soprano. If you followed the show, you know Vito was always cookin’ for the boys and was married to fictional character Marie Spatafore with two children, Francesca and Vito, Jr., and was a closeted gay man. Revealed in the show’s fifth season, Vito became one of the more prominent subplots in future seasons based on Vito Arena, a real gay mob associate in the Gambino crime family in New York City. He is also a notable book author penning A Meal to Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime, and Dinner with the Food Fellas
Actor Joe Gannascoli is not only a Hollywood star, but he is also a professional chef! Gannascoli was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  In the 1980s, he attended St. John’s University for two years, majoring in communications.  He began his cooking career at Manhattan Market in 1981, before leaving to work at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and then at various restaurants around the country. Gannascoli studied culinary arts and opened a restaurant named Soup As Art Restaurant in Brooklyn. He has worked as a Chef in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and New York, though he dabbled in acting at the time.
Gannascoli later appeared in other films, including Men in Black III. He stars in the 2015 movie An Act of War.
Recently, January 2020, he appeared with Vincent Pastore on Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.
Today, you can find Chef Gannascoli touring booking himself in homes across the Nation cooking meals for you and your friends! He is also known to stay-all-day because he has to “Make the Sauce.” And affordable! He prefers groups of a minimum 16 to as many as 50 people with Gannascoli entertaining for a full 10 hours—”because the sauce has got to cook,” he explains—though and also mentions he’ll probably drop out to your backyard for a cigar break at some point.
As for the meal, things start with an antipasto before moving on to his two signature sauces, a clam sauce, and a red sauce. While he’s there, he answers questions, tells stories, tosses in some Sopranos trivia, takes photos, and signs autographs.
After the meal, he gives “a little surprise to the guys in the group.” Hopefully, that doesn’t mean they get whacked. Though he did joke, “If any of the people there have a problem collecting money, I can put them in touch with a guy, too.”
The whole experience is $125 a head, plus food expenses, but Gannascoli handles all the shopping, handpicking the ingredients himself. The chef-turned-actor-turned-chef currently lives with his family in Long Island, so though he’s willing to travel anywhere, places farther flung than the greater New York area with an additional travel fee.
If you’re interested, he suggests his Twitter account is the best way to get in touch.
Don’t miss this entertaining show!
Photo Credit: Chef Jason Zukas