Andrea Zamperoni, the head chef at the famed Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central, was an Italian-raised family man who was reported missing when he failed to show up for work. Tragically, authorities now say that they believe a body found in a New York-area hotel is that of Zamperoni, 33.
Angelina Barini, an accused prostitute, is now facing charges in connection with the deaths of three men, including Zamperoni. Authorities accuse her of supplying drugs that contained fatal dosages of fentanyl to them.
ABC7 reported that the cause of death is not clear, but it appears to be “suspicious.” The television station did not explain what factors made the death questionable, but did report that the body was found in a building on 77th Street in Elmhurst, Queens, “a hotel that is a known drug and prostitution location.”
The Facebook page Il mio viaggio a New York, which had posted a photo of Zamperoni when the chef was first reported missing, declared upon news of his death: “Condolences to the family. Bad news for New York Italians.” Zamperoni had forged a career with illustrious restaurants throughout the globe.
“We are saddened to have learned that Andrea Zamperoni, beloved member of the Cipriani team for many years, was found dead,” Cipriani Dolci confirmed, according to Ansa, an Italian-language publication. “We are confident that the New York police will do everything possible to investigate and clarify this tragic situation.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Zamperoni Was a Native of Italy Who Also Lived in London & Was Described as ‘Extraordinary’
Zamperoni hadn’t been in New York City very long. According to la Repubblica, he was a native of Zorlesco, “a hamlet of Casalpusterlengo, in the province of Lodi.” That community is located generally in the region near Milan, Italy.
Zamperoni had been working for Cipriani as the head chef for just over a year, and previously worked for 11 years “in other locations of the same banner,” according to the Italian publication, which said he also lived in London, England for a time.
He moved to New York only last year, the publication reported, settling in a Queens apartment. He was 33. Il Messagero, an Italian news outlet, described Andrea Zamperoni as “An extraordinary [man], without vices and very happy with his work.”
2. Zamperoni Is Single Without Children But Has a Close Family
Zamperoni didn’t have many familial attachments in the U.S. The Italian news site explained that he arrived alone in New York and was single without children. His family is based in Europe, the site reports.
However, the chef was described as close to his mother and brother.
“His mom calls, now I’m getting worried because I know Andrea is very close to his mom and brother, they talk every day,” said co-worker Ignacio Albo to ABC 7. The Il Messagero site reported that Zamperoni had worked for Cipriani restaurants in London, Miami, and Abu Dhabi as well.
3. The Chef Called New York His ‘Home Away From Home’
On his Facebook page, Andrea Zamperoni indicated a love for his new hometown. #homeawayfromhome he captioned one photo of a New York subway car. He also posted a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, indicating it was taken on his day off.
In 2018, a post on Facebook indicated he celebrated his birthday in Las Vegas. A photo of a card showed it filled with well wishes. That same year, he posted a picture of the Empire State Building and wrote: “#somewhereinManatthan#iamback#newyorknewyork — feeling cool in Manatthan.”
Other photos show him having dinner, are of the Statue of Liberty and other New York scenes, and show him bicycling on the beach.
4. Zamperoni’s Body Was Found in a Rooming House & He Was Described as Sweet & Good-Tempered
The New York Post described the building where Zamperoni was found as a “Queens roominghouse” called Kamway Lodge & Tavern in Elmhurst.
Police were responding to a call of an unconscious man and found him unresponsive, The Post reported, adding that his roommates last saw him Sunday, and his co-workers reported him missing when he didn’t show up for work on Monday.
“Chefs are known for being temperamental. This guy’s a sweetheart,” Cipriani’s manager, Fernando Callorso, told The Post. “He’s a family man. He’s got a brother in London and a mother in Italy.”
5. Zamperoni Is a Twin Who Left Town to Explore His Dreams
According to la Repubblica, Zamperoni is a twin with his brother Stefano and both brothers “decided to undertake the same profession by going abroad.”
They frequently returned to visit family in Italy, though, including their parents and grandmother, the site reported, quoting the mother as saying, “I never thought that such a thing could happen to our family.”
“We join the family’s apprehension, in the hope that the case will be resolved quickly, and we rely on the expertise of the New York police authorities to arrive at positive news and a happy conclusion to the matter,” the mayor of Casalpusterlengo told la Repubblica.
The parish priest has organized a prayer vigil for what was described as a “very close family,” the site reported.