Bert P. Cutino, CEC, AAC, HOF, WCMC, American Academy of Chefs Chair
A native Californian, born in Carmel, Chef Cutino grew up around Cannery Row when it was “The Sardine Capital of the World.” He attended local schools and graduated from Monterey Union High School in 1957. After deciding not to follow his father into commercial fishing, Chef Cutino attended Monterey Peninsula College while working full-time in the hospitality industry.
He graduated with a degree in business in 1964, and was later presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the California Association of Colleges. In 1988, he received the degree of doctor of culinary arts, Honoris Causa, from Johnson & Wales College. He also served in the U.S. Naval Reserves as a medical corpsman.
In 1968, Chef Cutino opened The Sardine Factory Restaurant with his partner, Ted Balestreri, in an old cannery worker’s canteen in Monterey. The location and historical significance of Monterey and Cannery Row (made famous by American literary giant John Steinbeck) in particular, provided the duo with the springboard for their menu and décor.
Due in large part to Mr. Cutino’s efforts, The Sardine Factory has gained national recognition, having received numerous awards including the Restaurants and Institutions Ivy Award, Nation’s Restaurant News Hall of Fame Award, Restaurant Hospitality’s Top of the Table Award, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award and Distinguished Restaurants of North America’s Award (DiRoNA). In addition, Chef Cutino is past chairman of the American Academy of Chefs Honor Society, which has 800 members and 25,000 chefs in the United States. Today, Chef Cutino, his wife, Bella and their two sons live in Carmel.