I was born and raised in Brooklyn.
Both my parents were hard workers, seldom home. De facto the head of the household in our family was my mother’s mom, Nonna Domenica…. She is the one who passed down to us her culture with, at its very heart, her culinary traditions.
I remember her going to the market everyday bringing her shopping cart. She stopped at the vegetable shops and bit a peach or tasted a cherry, and if it good she bought them otherwise she spit it on the ground with a disgusted expression on her face. I was amazed that nobody ever complained about it but after all everybody there knew her..
Growing up I realized that my grandmother had been the repository of our family culture and identity. And I found out that, like her, millions of grandmothers all over the world pass down their heritage to their grandchildren.
Nine years ago, moved by the wish of sharing Italian grandmothers’ culinary culture I opened a restaurant, Enoteca Maria. At Enoteca several Italian grandmothers from different Italian regions cook their own menus on a rotating schedule.
In 2011 I started flirting with the idea of extending the concept to other culinary cultures. I began working on the creation of the virtual book “Nonnas of the World”. A crowd sourced recipe book where anybody around the world can upload their grandmother’s short bio, 3 photos and a recipe (written in their native language). My vision it’s this book to become the most extensive collection of grandmothers’ recipes, their particular Dialect and memories, a testament to culinary culture of common people from all over the world.
Next natural step, in July 2016, was inviting grandmothers of different countries to cook at the restaurant.
And now we rock!
Posted on January 3, 2017 - by wervil
This article is in Japanese: http://heapsmag.com/enoteca-maria-staten-island-restaurant-kitchen-of-grandma-of-the-world-new-york-no-professional-chefs-but-yes-chat-hug-cultural-experience
Posted on December 27, 2016 - by wervil
This article is in German, and there is a radio recording at the bottom of the article: http://www1.wdr.de/kultur/enoteca-maria-100.html