Buon giorno. I am Donato De Marchi, owner of Aldo Los Altos. I received my certifications in Cooking, Pastry, and as Sommelier at the Culinary Academy in Bellagio, Italy. After graduating, I was a chef at Villa D'Este in Lake Como, Italy and then at Metropole Suisse Hotel in Switzerland. As a chef aboard "The Royal Princess" (Princess Cruise Lines), I met my wife Marlene, from Palo Alto, on the dance floor.
We moved to the United States in 1986 and have been involved in the restaurant business since, including opening the pasta factory La Spiga D'Oro and later Emilia Romanga Pasta, which the Wolfgang Puck Food Company chose to manufacture their best line of ravioli. Marlene and I opened Vino e Cucina Trattoria in San Francisco to serve authentic Italian recipes, which in 2002 was voted Best Italian Restaurant on CitySearch.
I opened Aldo Los Altos in August 2005 and here we are!
At Aldo, we strive to create and be a part of community in Los Altos. To me, community is friends and family that share ideas and values. They like to enjoy each other's company over food and at the bar. Over time, the customers get to know each other, and us, and become friends. The community enlarges and enriches all of us, and that's what it's all about!
I love it when people feel comfortable coming in. They know the food is good and it is consistent. They may want to chat with Larry Otani, our General Manger, or to share some experience with myself. Sometimes, they're traveling to Italy and ask where to go. We develop that bond that is community.
We love family! Personally, to me family is everything. It is the solid foundation that allows you to express yourself on a higher level with your experience in life. It creates happiness and problems—the whole package. It is the basis of all things. With the restaurant, friends and customers somewhat become our extended family.
Having been a single child, I always loved being with other kids. In the restaurant, I like seeing how they react to things, the little things they do, and hearing their laughter. We welcome all of our extended family.
We are proud to have partnered with the Sunbeam Foundation, which supports the research, treatment, and awareness of bone cancer affecting primarily children and adolescents. Tragically, this disease takes away the possibility of these kids realizing their future, which is a loss to everyone. The pharmaceutical companies are not focusing on such rare sarcomas, so it is vital for private foundations to step up.
We were really touched by this story, brought to us by a lady who walked in our door one day. I came up with our "Ride a Ray Of Hope For A Cure" event in which we raffled a Vespa, and raised $15,000 for the cause directly, and another $20,000 through private donations. While this is our primary charitable cause, we recognize there are many other worthwhile ones out there, so forward us your request and we will be glad to respond to you.
We would like to leave a lesser footprint in the world in all that we do. For example, instead of having traditional white table cloths, which have to be changed several times a day, we chose to have nicer tables of wood and other practical materials. This saves on water, detergent, and waste water pollution.
Food packaging in the restaurant industry is much more efficient than for consumers. Quantities are larger, and there is no need for additional sales and presentation packaging as is found on supermarket shelves.
We recycle 80-90% of our trash, including all the cardboard. Our cooking oil is reused for bio diesel fuel. Most of what remains is food scraps and other wet garbage, which is processed at a facility in Lodi into compost. That completes the cycle, as the compost is used as fertilizer to produce more food.