Dennis Corradi was a logistics manager and business owner before deciding he wanted to get into cooking and open his own restaurant. He attended the California Culinary Academy, where he met his wife, Carla Summer, a chemist and chef. Following graduation, they traveled to
Europe, and concentrated on learning the foods of Italy and France. Upon returning to California, he started working in the kitchen at L’Omellette Restaurant in Palo Alto. While there, he met cookbook author and cooking instructor, Ken Hom, who hired him as his assistant, when not working at the restaurant.
In 1985, Chef Corradi and his wife decided to move to Nevada and open their own restaurant, Café Lilli, in Incline Village. In 1986, the Great Chefs television crew arrived to tape Chef Corradi for the PBS television series titled Great Chefs of the West, in which he appeared in episodes 1 & 26.