Mother’s Day Memories

Today, in the United States it is Mother’s Day and though we don’t share the same date for this holiday in Italy, we do have such a day to celebrate our mothers. This day still makes me wax nostalgic and think of my mother, Adelia and my life in Italy. I was cheated of knowing her and caring for her as a grown man. She died at a very young age when I was only thirteen years old. Still, though I was young, my memories of her are profound and usually associated with food and love. It was she, Adelia, who gave me my love and passion for food and cooking.


Strawberry Risotto

I recently went to an event hosted by Verizon at the destination store in Santa Monica. It was a very interesting evening and I learned a great deal about tech devices and gadgets which I loved. However, I am first and foremost a cook and all I kept thinking about when confronted with all that red - red bags, red logo, red on the walls, red everywhere - were strawberries. I could almost smell them. I couldn't get them out of my mind and it is, in California, strawberry season after all. The ...

Touring the Santa Monica Verizon Destination Store

20160501_020450317_iOS I was recently invited to an event hosted by Verizon at their destination store in Santa Monica. It is unlike any Verizon store I’ve ever been to. For one thing, it’s huge. The floors have that beachy kind of vibe that fits in well with the Santa Monica population. We are, after all, quite near the ocean. I was impressed. ...


For us in Venetian Northern Italy, the word "blecs" speaks of buttery goodness, a warm belly and pasta served the moment it is taken from the pot. In other words, blecs is one of those heavenly, special, and comforting dishes that speaks of home to me. In America, the word "blech" (pronounced the same) is an onomatopoeic one of something quite different, so don't turn away. In fact, it means a patch, as if you were to patch your jeans. The name comes from the color of the pasta and the triangular shape. Trust me, blecs are a delicious thing. ...

Gianfranco Minuz, Restaurant Consultant & Cookbook Author

I like the sound of that. A new start in my life, one that has been a long, torturous time in coming. I have finally moved on from Lago and am eagerly seeking new challenges and opportunities. I'm working on a cookbook, doing some consulting and enjoying my freedom. Yesterday, I felt on top of the world. I was standing at the Encinal Lookout in Malibu after a beautiful drive along the coast and felt, for the first time in years, that I was free. It's a good feeling knowing that you can ...

Queen of Sheba Cake

Sweet tooth? This simple, but delicious cake adapted from a Julia Child recipe fills the bill.

Cabbage & Apple Slaw with Burrata

In Northern Italy, where I am from, cabbage makes its way into many a dish. Here, I've made my version of American coleslaw with a very Italian spin on it. Locally grown cabbage, green apples, fresh dill and topped with a beautiful burrata from Bel Gioso really uplifts the humble slaw and makes it elegant. Delicious, refreshing and healthy.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes

On days when you want something simple, fast and comforting, there is nothing like a quick pasta with fresh tomatoes.

Coq au Vin, California Style

My little California twist on a favorite recipe. White wine and herbs d'Provence make this chicken dish perfect for a summer evening dinner with friends.

A Visit to Chico

I grew up on a farm in a small town in Northern Italy so farming, olive trees and farmland are nothing new to me. My mother grew vegetables and I, from my earliest years was near as she tended her garden. My risi e bisi is a tribute to those times spent in her garden. To this day, farming matters to me very much. I do my best as a chef to support the local growers, shop farmer’s markets for the restaurant table as well as my personal home use. Fresh is best and nothing is fresher than product sourced from our local farms. Because of my love and deep respect for farmers, I was most excited to be invited on a tour of California farms by the California Farm Water Coalition. My friend Gina had been invited and she, knowing my love of fresh produce, asked if I could come along. CFWC was most gracious in inviting me and it was most enlightening....