San Diego Chef Joe Magnanelli Joins Buona Forchetta Team

September 1, 2020

Fresh off a recent departure leading the kitchen at Brian Malarkey's downtown Asian fusion restaurant Animae, Chef Joe Magnanelli is now the Director of Culinary Operations at San Diego's expanding Buona Forchetta restaurant group.

In early 2019, after more than a decade with San Diego-based Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Cucina Sorella, Cucina Enoteca), Chef Joe Magnanelli announced he would be joining the team of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey to take the Executive Chef role at Animae - a $5.5 million dollar, upscale Asian fusion restaurant that opened last September within the luxurious Bosa Pacific Gate high-rise building in downtown San Diego. Word on the street is that Malarkey and Magnanelli butted heads since almost day one, leading to the chef ultimately leaving the company this past spring.

Magnanelli has recently joined the team at Matteo Cattaneo Buona Forchetta restaurant group. Buona Forchetta first launched in San Diego's South Park neighborhood in 2013 and has been packing the house ever since. In March 2017, the company opened an offshoot dubbed Officine Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station, which coincided with the announcement of an incoming, 1,100 square foot Encinitas branch that debuted in October 2018. The team also operates Enoteca Buona Forchetta, an Italian bodega and bistro that sits two doors down from the company's flagship South Park restaurant. Earlier this year, Buona Forchetta ownership opened Matteo, a non-profit breakfast-centric restaurant in South Park, as well as Garage Buona Forchetta in Coronado. The group opened Gelati & Pecatti early this summer in North Park, offering a menu centered around Roman-style rectangular pizza and house made gelato. A Texas-style barbecue restaurant called Carbón is another project expected to open by year's end at 2314 30th Street in South Park. We also announced earlier this month that Cattaneo had taken over the former PrepKitchen space in San Marcos to open the company's most northerly restaurant location to date.

Being Cattaneo intends to continue expanding his restaurant empire up the California coast, hoping to open a location in San Clemente next year, he hired Magnanelli to help the group grow and ensure restaurants under the Buona Forchetta umbrella are operating efficiently. While working for Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group, Chef Magnanelli assisted in the opening of a second Cucina concept in Orange County - Cucina Enoteca in Newport Beach, as well as the openings of Cucina Sorella in San Diego's Kensington, and additional Cucina Enoteca restaurants in Del Mar and Irvine, CA. 

For more information about Buona Forchetta and the company's restaurants, visit