THE RECIPE HUNTER – A Casting Call

I spent the past few years using food as a vehicle to reach people’ souls. I am not a chef, I am just a delivery guy.

The food I cook is not the result of years spent working on the-line, nor I attended culinary school, and I still am not even remotely interested in opening a restaurant of my own. To me sharing the recipes I know and cook every day for my family is a way of telling you who I am and where I come from, in the most humble way… the way my grandmother taught me. I always have taken a lot of pride in my food heritage, and I consider myself extremely lucky for being the one in my family that now is in the position of passing our culinary history and traditions to the next generation. Indeed my daughters can tell you what I am talking about, as I recruited them at the kitchen counter as early as they both can remember. Evelina is now 8 and has an incredible palate, she is very critical and willing to try everything I bring to the dinner table, but she has no interest in cooking. Giulia is turning 5 this week, and she already handles with pride a 7″ chef’s knife (If she can play video games she can chop onions as well); she cooks everything with me, but she is willing to eat very few things, even when she prepares them: “I cooked it for you Babbo, I don’t like it!”.

I am an immigrant and I thrive to keep my family traditions alive in a foreign land, like many of you out there. Unless you are a Native American your blood and your gene-pool comes from a different place on this planet… so do your recipes!!!

Because of the success of Extra Virgin I am receiving now a lot of emails about our TV show, the recipes Debi and I prepare, and the sense of family that we have been able to share with you on the silver screen. In all these emails I have found a very important common denominator; the way you connect with your family history through food. The best compliment you can give me is to write me that you “have not tasted anything like this since my grandmother made it for me!”. Well, where is your grandmother today? Is she still in your home country? Is she alive? What about her family? WHO HAS HER RECIPES?

Welcome to THE RECIPE HUNTER, my new project about food heritage, genealogy, travel and family recipes! Let me help you get back in touch with those flavors that make you feel at home, no matter where your home… was. I am looking for stories to tell, I need recipes to hunt down, I want to help!

My idea is very simple and straight forward: you tell me your story and what family recipe you are looking for. You need to provide me with as much information as possible about your country of origin: Do you still have any family there? Do you have any addresses of doors I might go knock at? What about family friends? Why is this so important to you and which are your goals and expectations?

Like an Indiana Jones of food I will make my travel arrangements and go seek whatever is out there to be found about your favorite dish, learn how to make it, then come back and pass the recipe to you so it does not get lost again… We will frame your food in a plate as if it was a family picture! Then we’ll eat it, and go down memory lane.

Have you ever tasted or smelled something that brought you right back to your most cherished childhood memories? Did it make you feel at home far away from home and your loved ones? Would you like to be able to re-create that special feeling? WRITE ME!

Email me your story on a video message (webcam messages are just fine). Tell me about yourself, who you are, where you come from and why you are asking me to help you. Send me old pictures of your family, and any info about their whereabouts… if no family members are alive I am sure I can find a neighbor, a distant cousin, a friend that can help me in my quest! No matter what it takes, I am planning in coming back to you with a recipe you can pass on to your next generation!

Time to submit your entry is limited, as I will be running this casting call only for the next two/three weeks, so Hurry Up and let’s go hunt your recipe down.

Send your emails to: therecipehunter@me.com