Over the following weeks, the 31-year-old restaurant manager quickly became a crowd favourite, impressing the judges with his authentic Italian dishes in the series’ tenth season.
Though Aldo’s Masterchef journey ended halfway through the competition, his lifelong love affair with food is far from over.
Hailing from the seaside municipality of Bacoli, in the Metropolitan City of Naples, Aldo says sharing honest and simple food with family was the key to his childhood.
He was raised with two sisters and spent every day of his formative years at his grandmother Lucia’s.
“I still remember waking up in the morning and my nonna would come by and ask me what I wanted to eat that day,” he recalls.
The answer would more often than not be young Aldo’s favourite - pasta with cannellini beans and fresh mussels.
“My passion for and knowledge of food comes from being around my nonna,” Aldo explains.
“I used to follow her around while she was cooking, and even now if I have a cooking question I’ll give her a buzz and she’ll offer me advice.”
After leaving school in 2009, Aldo moved to Rome to study statistics and four years later, he headed to Sydney in search of new adventures and opportunities.
“Italy is the most beautiful country in Europe and it’s where my heart belongs,” Aldo says.
“But having the freedom and wellbeing I enjoy here is something I could never dream of in Italy.”
The warm Italian soon settled into the Sydney lifestyle and was introduced to a whole new world of possibilities.
“Australia really is the land of opportunity and if you work hard in this country you can succeed no matter what,” he says.
Aldo started working for an event and catering business as a food attendant on the floor, before taking on managerial roles with local Italian eatery, Giro Osteria, and Thai restaurant, Alphabet St.
He not only found a new career in Australia, but he also found love.
In early 2014, Aldo met his fiancé Mark, and the pair became engaged two years ago.
It was Mark who managed to convince Aldo to apply for Masterchef, though the Italian cook didn’t think his skills were up to scratch.
Aldo admits it was strange being on the other side of a restaurant setting, having to cook under pressure and think on his feet.
However, the stress of it all never seemed to get to him, and he always had a big grin on his face and a warm embrace ready for his contestants.
“The best thing about the whole experience was meeting a group of beautiful people who share my passion for food… people I never would’ve crossed paths with otherwise.”
What took the judges and many viewers by surprise was the sheer joy that Aldo expressed when previously eliminated contestant Brendan made it back into the competition on the same night that the Italian was ousted.
“Brendan getting back in was one of the best moments on the show,” Aldo exclaims.
“He really deserved it because he’s such a humble and genuine guy!”
Having travelled around Italy as a professional swimmer since the age of eight, Aldo is no stranger to competition, but winning will always come second to having fun for the colourful cook.
“If you’re not having fun then there’s no reason for you to be doing it,” he argues.
Following his Masterchef journey, Aldo already has several exciting projects on his plate.
He’s begun working on a collaboration with Australia’s oldest gelato company, Alpino, in Marrickville, and he’s also helping fellow contestant Hoda with her pop-up dessert bar, which is set to arrive in Sydney next month.
He’s also in the process of writing his cookbook which will showcase the authentic Neapolitan cuisine that he was raised on.
“It will be full of all the dishes we eat down south and the happiness that they bring us every day,” he says.
“Every single dish that my nonna has cooked for me has a history behind it. I want people to understand where all the passion that I showed on Masterchef comes from and why my nonna was always central to my journey.”
Aldo wants to not only dedicate a cookbook to his nonna, but also his dream restaurant which he hopes to name after her.
“My nonna is 90 and I really want to make sure she sees my restaurant with her name on the door and serving her recipes,” he says.
For now, Aldo is still managing Alphabet St. and says he has no intention of giving up his day job.
An affectionate and outgoing person to say the least, Aldo enjoys being front of house and interacting with diners.
Meanwhile, Aldo will enjoy his newfound status as an Australian permanent resident – which he happened to get on the morning of our interview – and will plan to tie the knot with Mark next year.
If we’ve learned anything about Aldo over the past couple of months, it's that his wedding will be a day full of love, laughter and loads of delicious food!