Synopses & Reviews
Cesare Casella's culinary career began at the age of thirteen in the kitchen of his family's restaurant, Il Vipore, just outside of Lucca in the hills of Tuscany. In 1979 he took over the kitchen, and in 1993 Il Vipore was awarded its first Michelin star.
Diary of a Tuscan Chef is not only a book of quintessential--and ambrosial--Tuscan dishes, it is the charming and wittily told story of Casella's journey from that first foray into Il Vipore's kitchen to becoming executive chef at Pino Luongo's famed Coco Pazzo restaurant in New York City.
Arranged as a series of seasonal menus, each one inspired by a colorful anecdote taken from Casella's life, Diary of a Tuscan Chef is dedicated to the two most basic tenets of Tuscan cooking: seasonality and flexibility. Creating the best, tastiest, most satisfying food from a few fresh, seasonally available ingredients is what Tuscan cooking is all about.
Cesare Casella is a professional chef, but these are not "restaurant dishes." As he so aptly puts it, "As far as I know, no one has written a cookbook for the American public that presents Tuscan food as it is--good, simple, and natural. The Tuscan table should be as easy to set in New York as it is in Garfagnana, or in Rome, Georgia, for that matter."
All of the 150 recipes in Diary of a Tuscan Chef can be made at home with ingredients found in any local supermarket. In the end, it is Casella himself, a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful chef, who makes this book unique. With his words and the many photographs of him, his food, and his family, the reader will be transported into a world of delicious cooking and delightful company.
About the Author
Cesare Casella was born and grew up in a small town outside of Lucca, Italy, in and around his family's restaurant, Il Vipore, which as a young chef he transformed into a world-class establishment with a well-deserved Michelin star. In 1993 he came to New York City as the executive chef at Pino Luongo's renowned Coco Pazzo restaurant. Later he launched Il Toscanaccio for Luongo and then went on to yet another first-class New York restaurant, Il Cantinori. Diary of a Tuscan Chef is his first book.
Eileen Daspin lived in Italy for three years as a correspondent for Fairchild Publications, and first met Cesare Casella when she interviewed him for W Europe. She is now a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal.