When people ask what inspires me to cook authentic Italian food, I always go back to my family—I developed a deep respect for cooking scratch-made, honest food growing up. It was all around me, my mother, grandmothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. Many of the items on the MOROSO menu are reflections of my family’s history with food. I watched Italian meals being prepared with a great deal of love and respect for the food, so I try to run my kitchen in that same manner. I love to make every guest feel as if they’re dining with my family, because in a sense, they are.
My family’s history of food begins in the old country. My father’s parents were born in San Daniele in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia province of Northeast Italy. It’s a region at the base of the Dolomite mountains known for great white wine, prosciutto, polenta, risotto and game. I’ve visited San Daniele several times and have fond memories of meeting my extended family, eating at their tables and exploring the mountains where my grandfather once served as an Alpino, Italian Alpine mountain soldier. My mom’s parents had deep Italian roots as well. They were from small towns near Rome. My mom’s Dad was an officer in the Carabinieri, Italy’s autonomous paramilitary force based out of Rome. Although he was a robust man, he loved nothing more than to eat food with his family and make his own wine. My grandparents all immigrated to the United States in the 1900’s but never forgot their Italian heritage.
Growing up, it wasn’t unusual for me to watch my grandmothers go out to the garden and pull up some arugula, tomatoes or radishes just before dinner time. We grew up eating traditional Italian food that was simple and delicious. Sometimes, dessert was a fresh, ripe fig plucked for me by my Grandpa. They never used measuring cups or spoons, though. Everything they cooked was created from recipes handed down to them from their mothers and perfected with taste. I loved the smell of my grandmothers’ kitchens, always filled with a warm and welcoming aroma. Sometimes standing in MOROSO I can close my eyes and be right back at the kitchen counter with them. That’s why I hope you feel like you’re at home when you’re at MOROSO. I hope we can be that Italian grandmother you never had (or had and miss dearly!).