Meet the Leonardo’s Team!



At Leonardo’s we believe in good food and good service; we love our food, but we also know that you come to Leonardo’s for the experience.

We are a small, close-knit team who love working together to provide you with the most authentic Italian culinary experience possible.

Here you can read more about each of the amazing indivuals who lend their skills and passion to our team every day.  We look forward to hosting you and welcoming you into our space as friends.  Please come by and let us show you amazing hospitality, delicious food and a warm, friendly atmoshere.

Dean Lindebaum

Head chef

Dean has 14 years of experience as a chef. Born in South Africa, he discovered the passion for food when he was very little. He moved to NZ when he was 8 years old and focused all his life on Mediterranean Cuisine. He is the magician behind the curtains, and he has been with the company from day 1 back in July 2013. He always wonders what it would be like if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were real…

Jamie Knight

Chef de partie

Jamie is the boy that grew up in your Rotorua backyard. Hardwork is his motto. Jamie started as a kitchen hand in January 2015, but his skills and passion quickly made him a chef de partie in July 2015. Why is advertising considered a lucrative industry for people when ads on TV generally irritate most people anyway?

Levi Wilson

Chef de partie


As of today, Levi he has 17 summers on his shoulders as a chef.  Born in New Zealand, but grew up in Ozzi, Levi moved around the world and learned as much as he could about cooking.  He has lived in France, England, Australia.  7 years ago, Levi decided to move back to Rotorua and has been with the company from October 2015.  Did you know that rubber bands last longer if kept in the fridge?

Aroha Butler

Restaurant Manager

Aroha grew up in Gore in the South Island. Her passion for the industry and her skills make her a valuable member of our fantastic crew. She always strives for perfection, and her standards are always very high. She has been running the restaurant for the past 2 years and her 13 years for experience have made her the wonderful host she is today. Her life goal is to sneeze with her eyes open, even though it is impossible.

Danny Moody

Restaurant Manager

Danny has been in hospitality for 10 years, starting when he was only 16 working in hotels, restaurants and cafés all over Rotorua. Hospitality has been is life since very young and he always pushes himself to give his town the hospitality she deserves. His best line? If a cow laughed really hard, would milk come out of her nose?

Yuka Nakamori


Yuka was born in Japan and moved to Australia to learn English 10 years ago. She came to New Zealand for holiday with Leonardo and never left. Her study in Japan made her, originally, a wedding planner, but her life took a slight turn when she decided to open the restaurant 3 years ago.  Attention for details is her motto.  She believed for few years that WTF meant Wow That’s Fantastic…

Leonardo Baldi


Born in Italy and spent 25 years there, absorbing everything he could from the Italian cuisine. The most influential person has been his Grandma and that is where most of the recipes come from.  Leonardo met Yuka Nakamori 10 years ago and decided to come to New Zealand for holiday. He fell in love with the country and in 2013, after over 20 years in the industry, decided to open Leonardo’s Pure Italian, focussing on traditional Italian food. Everything is handmade, delivered fresh and prepared from scratch every single day. When he was 18 he told his parents that is girlfriend was pregnant. But then told them that it was a joke and he only failed a Mathematics exam….they were so glad.