Meet The Family
Chef Antonino Settepani is a Sicilian-born baker and restaurateur who has been serving delectable food to the people of New York City for over three decades. Antonino is a well-respected member of the New York City culinary community; his establishments have earned numerous accolades and awards over the years.
He first started working in a bakery when he first immigrated to the United States and as a high school student every day after school, he went to work for a bakery not far from where he lived. Eventually he was the first to attend university in his family and went to New York University and French Culinary Institute. While he was a student at NYU with his family he opened his first bakery in the heart of the Village, a bakery called 'Bruno Bakery’ and then went on to open “Bondi” on 20th street. Both locations were always full of life and he always loved curating menus with his favorite dishes.
He takes great pride in his work and provides his customers with an exceptional dining experience; he has made food and cakes for everyone from Luciano Pavarotti, Gino Lollobrigida, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Queen Maxima, and many more.
Chef Nino’s family plays an important role in this business. working alongside his wife Leah and children, Bilena and Seyoum. Antonino's dedication to his family and his craft is evident in the delicious food that Settepani serves, which is made with love and care.
Leah Abraham the successful business owner and devoted mother. Leah takes pride in working alongside her husband, and children. She first decided to open Settepani in Harlem in the late 90’s when she was so in love with the architect and how wide the streets on Lenox Avenue are. She is one of the pioneers of the Restaurant scene in Harlem. She worked relentlessly to get business owners to open in Harlem so that Settepani was not the only business around. She is a firm believer. that a community is stronger together and we are only as good as the community around us.
Leah is Ethiopian born Eritrean, at a young age had to move to America, and Harlem quickly became her and her family's home. Before moving to America, she lived in different parts of the world making her fluent in several languages. Most of her life she lived in Ethiopia where ironically enough her love for Italian products started, way before she met her husband Nino, at a young age she was exposed to Panettone because her grandfather was the first to import Italian items like Panettone to Ethiopia.
Leah has a deep appreciation for her home’s cultural heritage. This appreciation is evident in the way she runs her businesses, incorporating elements of both Ethiopian and Italian cultures on the menus and decor of Settepani. She is actively involved in various charitable organizations that support education and empowerment in Ethiopia, demonstrating her commitment to making a positive impact in the world.
Bilena Settepani is a talented young entrepreneur, and pastry chef, raised in a family of both bakers and restaurateurs, and from a young age, she was immersed in the world of food and hospitality. Bilena’s first word was “Dabo” which in Ethiopia means bread; many of our patrons have seen Bilena work every position from starting as in her early teen’s maître d, bussing, waiting tables, bartender, manager and more as she studied and even on the side as she started a career in fashion. When the pandemic hit she dropped everything and quit her job to step up and take care of the family's business while the Settepani family like everyone else was facing hardship in all aspects of life. Bilena's passion for pastry began at a young age, as she would spend time at both locations but always trying to get her hands on the action and was always curious to try things. Her love for food goes beyond the kitchen as she also runs our monthly classes. After receiving a degree at High Point University, she attended Institute of Culinary Education where she honed her skills and developed a deep appreciation for the art of pastry making. After graduation, she worked in some of the top pastry kitchens in the world, gaining valuable experience and perfecting her craft.
Bilena is the vision behind the brand at Settepani, she overseas out marketing and works side by side with Chef Nino to constantly evolve to pastry program at Settepani, where she is responsible for creating the restaurant's dessert menu, managing our e - commerce, and overseeing the pastry line of products. She brought a fresh and innovative perspective to the business, when she decided to help her family bring Settepani forward instead of folding when times get tough. She has helped to elevate the Settepani brand and expand its reach beyond the local community, and continues to find ways to give back to our community.
Seyoum Settepani is the general manager of Settepani. Being born into a family of restaurateurs and bakers, and his passion for the industry began at a young age. He learned the ins and outs of the business by working alongside his family and quickly developed a deep appreciation for the art of hospitality. After completing his undergraduate studies, Seyoum went on to earn a Master's degree from the University of Richmond, where he specialized in marketing and management.
Seyoum's experiences both on and off the field have prepared him well for his role as general manager of Settepani. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his position, ensuring that the restaurant's operations run smoothly and that guests have a truly memorable dining experience.
Seyoum remains active in the community and is passionate about giving back. He is a firm believer in the power of education and actively supports various initiatives like About U and the Harlem Jets that promote access to education and training opportunities for young people.