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Italy's Nadia Santini named world's best female chef

- PHOTO TAKEN 04MAY06 - Chef Nadia Santini's poses in her Dal Pescatore restaurant in the northern Italian town of Canneto Sull'Oglio May 4,
- PHOTO TAKEN 04MAY06 - Chef Nadia Santini's poses in her Dal Pescatore restaurant in the northern Italian town of Canneto Sull'Oglio May 4,

LONDON (Reuters) - Nadia Santini, the head chef of the Michelin-starred Dal Pescatore restaurant in a village in northern Italy, was named Best Female Chef by the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards on Wednesday.

Santini runs the kitchen at the restaurant in Runate between Mantua and Cremona that was set up in 1925 by her husband's family.

She was trained by her husband's grandmother, Teresa, who was running the restaurant when she married into the family nearly 40 years ago, as she had never cooked professionally.

In 1996 Santini became the first female chef in Italy to be awarded three Michelin stars for her kitchen that produces authentic Italian cuisine combined with modern influences.

"At the helm of the culinary dynasty that is the Santini family, Nadia Santini's cheffing expertise has lifted the restaurant to the highest of values," said a statement from the World's 50 Best Restaurant awards, run by British magazine Restaurant.

The restaurant remains a family affair with her husband, Antonio, managing the front of house while their sons Alberto and Giovanni also work there.

Previous winners of the annual award that started in 2011 are Elena Arzak, head of the Arzak restaurant San Sebastian, Spain, and French chef Anne-Sophie Pic, of Maison Pic in Valence, France.

The award is decided by votes from 900 international leaders in the restaurant industry who make up the World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)

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