Category Archives: Ma,what are you cooking

Mà, What Are You Cooking?


My friend, Gianluca Rottura, has written a new book that contains a wealth of knowledge and is a joy to read.  It is entitled Mà, What Are You Cooking? The In Vino Veritas Cookbook And Food GuideThe cover of the book is a photo of Gianluca enjoying his mother’s pasta when he as very young.

Gianluca asked my to write one of the two forewords for his book.  Here is what I wrote: 

When I was the Wine Director and Sommelier for I Trulli Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Vino, an all-Italian wine store, I met a lot of people who were interested in wine and food.  Most of them claimed to be experts, and in fact, a handful of them were.   But no one impressed me as much as Gianluca Rottura, the author of this book, who is the operator of his family’s wine store, In Vino Veritas.  

Gianluca’s passion and knowledge for Italian wine and food were apparent every time we met.  I loved our conversations, hearing his stories about his family in Italy and their history as farmers, olive oil producers, restaurateurs and winemakers.  Gianluca has his own olive grove and produces olive oil.  His immediate and extended family not only owns properties in Italy, they also have owned and operated Italian restaurants both there and in New York. 

Gianluca returns to Italy often and I always looked forward to hearing about his new discoveries and experiences.  His knowledge of Italian wine and food is unparalleled.  At home in New York, Gianluca teaches wine courses and a few years ago wrote a book entitled Wine Made Easy, which would be valuable for a wine connoisseur in the making.   Anyone with an interest in Italy should follow his blog, “Piazza Life” or read his website “Pizza and Coffee”.

I have often said that Gianluca has a great palate.  I joke that the reason that it is great is that it is the same as mine!   We  agree on and discuss often the importance of enjoying wine and food together.  By making the right combination, each one brings out the best in the other.  

This is something I learned in the past 50 or so years that I have been traveling to Italy, both for pleasure and for business.  From my first visit in 1970, I was struck by how much Italians cared about food and wine.  I loved watching whole families gather and seeing that everyone from the youngest to the oldest was relishing what was placed on the table.  They lingered there savoring each sip and bite and enjoying the pleasure of being together.

The Italian way of enjoying wine and food is something that I have tried to bring to my own life and I sought to instill in my clients and students.  Before my years at I Trulli, I also owned a wine store and taught wine classes.  One of my favorite subjects was a class on pairing wine and food that I taught with my wife, cookbook author Michele Scicolone, at the New School Culinary Center in New York City.  Other schools where I have taught include Macy’s DeGustibus, Cooking By The Book and The Silo.  I was very honored to have been nominated six times for a wine list and wine service award while I was at I Trulli.  Over the course of many trips to the Campania region of Italy where Gianluca’s mother’s family is from, Michele and I were inspired to write a seminal book about pizza entitled, Pizza Any Way You Slice It!, which preceded the current pizza craze we are experiencing today.  

Readers of this book are almost as fortunate as I am to know  Gianluca.  He loves sharing his knowledge with others and in the pages of Mà, What Are You Cooking? The Vino Veritas Cookbook And Food Guide you will be transported to Italy.  Gianluca will be your expert guide to such quintessential Italian arts such as making wine, cheeses, salumi and traditional methods of butchering.  He tells the reader about his life in Italy and the lives of the wine and food producers he has known.


On the back cover is a picture of Gianluca eating pasta now that he is much older.

So my suggestion is that you open a bottle of your favorite Italian wine, pour yourself a glass and start reading!

The book makes a great holiday gift.  It is available at Amazon 

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