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A hilariously funny cookbook–cum–how–I–did–it memoir by the chef/restaurateur who created New York's dazzling Ápizz restaurant.

At the age of thirty–seven, John LaFemina left a lucrative career as a jeweler to become a chef. Instead of going back to school, or getting on–the–job training, he did it the hard way: he bought the restaurant and then taught himself to cook.

Today he owns two of New York's great Italian restaurants–Ápizz and Peasant–and is one of the city's most–talked–about chefs, earning rave reviews from fans and critics. In this gorgeous cookbook, he not only shares scores of recipes, but describes his life as a Canarsie boy learning about meatballs and macaroni in his mother's kitchen–and reveals how he drew on a lifetime of Italian cooking, and his own hard work and exquisite taste to create his dream restaurant from scratch.

LaFemina takes us step–by–step through the process of finding the perfect location (and figuring out how many meatballs you have to sell to pay the rent), designing a restaurant, procuring all the necessary permits and licenses, and creating the menu. And this is just the first part of running a restaurant. He shares his experiences in dealing with the public and the press, unexpected disasters, and finally, basking in the glory of a popular restaurant.

Along with his inspiring story, John LaFemina also shares 100 mouthwatering recipes, including:

  • Lasagna with Braised Wild Boar

  • Mushroom Risotto

  • Veal, Beef, and Pork Meatballs with Ricotta Filling

  • Open Ravioli with Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Creamsicle Panna Cotta

  • Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

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