​​Wilmington, North Carolina


Executive Chef of Allora Catering, James Benazzi, has been cooking professionally for thirteen years.  When training in college on a sports scholarship with focus to become a professional forester, he started to realize the solitude of our nation’s forests were just too overwhelming for a man that was so outgoing. During his time at the University, he teamed up with Marc Forgione, son of Larry Forgione, and discovered the world of gastronomy and perhaps the father of American cuisine.  This experience propelled a search to discover and unfold food and wine.  He traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad during college, always moonlighting as a line cook and learning the different cultures, techniques, foods, and ways of life; all the while being raised from a northern Italian background putting that knowledge accumulated to the test. He traveled to Florence, Italy to study under master chefs and to work in the historical city.  Upon return to the U.S. he lead a kitchen team of nine in French cuisine to a Zagat score of 26.  Ultimately, James ended up in an exciting position in Watch Hill, RI where the privacy of home dining was taken to new levels before returning to take the helm of a small french restaurant.  He has lived in Massachusetts (where he obtained a degree in forestry), Vermont, Maine, Santa Cruz CA, Vancouver B.C., Bend OR, Seqouia National Forest CA, Puerto San Carlos MX, and Firenze, Italia.