About the Chef

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been very interested in my family’s history. My grandmother, Louise, is a wonderful storyteller, and I have always loved listening to her talk about all our family members that I never had a chance to meet.

Map of Italy

My grandmother’s family came to New York from Italy in the 1800s. Her mother’s side of the family came from San Prisco, Italy, which is a very small town near Naples. It is so small, in fact, that during World War II, one of my family members was visiting relatives in San Prisco, and no one in the village even knew that there was a war going on. Not to mention that Italy was in it.

My great grandfather’s side of the family is from Palermo, which is in Sicily. Sicily is sometimes referred to as “God’s Kitchen” because it is known for having delicious food. In fact, Sicilians are considered to be the best cannoli-makers in the whole world.

My Family

Because she knows how much I love learning about our family, my grandmother sends me old family photos from time to time. The photo on the left was taken on May 26, 1950.

The man standing on the far left is my great grandfather, Anthony, and the woman standing next to him is my great grandmother, Laborea (who just celebrated her 96th birthday, by the way). She is holding my great-uncle, Vinny, and the woman sitting down on the left is my great-great-grandmother.

Like most Italian women, my grandmother is a fabulous cook, and she passed down her talents to my father. I’m not so sure that he passed down those talents to me, but we sure do share the same passion for food, especially Italian. I’m more of the baker in the family, but it makes me proud that my family is so connected to our heritage. I also feel lucky that I belong to a culture that makes such darn good food.