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story

Nancy’s Story

Nancy Silverton

Lesson time 59 min

Chef Nancy Silverton gives us a delicious taste of her world, starting in her summer home in Umbria, Italy, before taking us into her home and restaurants in Los Angeles, California.

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[music] -Years ago, I went to Italy for the summer. I fell in love with Italy then, did a lot of cooking but mostly fell in love with how delicious everything was. I really appreciate dishes that are very, very simple. I don’t know. I’ll never feel like a chef. I feel like a mentor. I feel like a restaurant owner. Nobody says “Yes, chef” to me. [music] -Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. -Good morning. [background conversation] -Do you need a refill? One, fantastic. Oh my favorite. Thank you. They’re my favorite. They had one left. -You got it? -I got it. Would you like some? -That’s okay. Enjoy it. [laughter] -Are you sure you don’t want a little? Cafe, cappuccino the best. -Thank you. Thank you very much. -In all of Umbria. -Thank you. Umbria is big. [background noise] [music] [background conversation] -Hi, Nancy. Welcome. -Thank you. -Hi. -Hi, Aldo. -Welcome back to Panicale. -Thank you. Aldo, please, a glass of Montefalco. -Perfect. -Thank you. Do you need more ice? -I’ll have a ghiaccio. It’s okay. I’ll take your ghiaccio. -Thank you, Aldo. Would you like to buy a bed and breakfast because I know a perfect one? -Oh my god. Have we got a great one right here. -Maybe. -It’s beautiful. -The one with the cover? -Yes. [laughter] -I have people that would like to cook at it. [music] -33 years ago, I rented a house in Tuscany outside of Lucca. I fell in love with Italy then and I luckily I was in the position that I could buy a small house in Umbria. I have been going every summer and every winter since. It’s my ideal vacation because it’s a vacation that I get to cook at where I have my knives. I have my platters. Just the comfort of being in a home rather than a hotel. For me, a real vacation is being away from the pressure of running a restaurant, but still being able to cook on my terms. Look at my yield of my– -You’re kidding. -Do not eat one of those. -Just one. -I don’t have- -I have to try it. –that many. [laughs] -Yes. Here you go, are you going to finish it? -Finished the coffee. All right, Corina, you’re going to take care of the plates and the whole setting. I’m going to have to decide if I’m going to use my pretty little plates or just the standard white big ones, so they can load up. -Let’s use your prettier one because it’s such a small group then they can go back and get more if they want, all right? -Okay. -No plastic? -No plastic. -No, this is not a plastic party. Okay, so now as far as food. Potatoes, tomatoes- -Tomatoes. –cauliflower, cabbage, onion, ceci, escarole. -Escarole. -I have onions and I have some mixed salami. -Salami, okay. Slice. -I’m going to slice on the slicer. Who’s dog is that? [laughs] -Is the gate open? Where did it come in from? From there? That is hysterical. [laughs] -Cauliflower- -The cameo. –with the– [laughter] -I’ve never seen that dog before. [laughter] -Nancy is truly a pioneer in the food industry, especially in Los Angeles. -Since the beginning of my career writing about food, Nancy has always been an important figure. It was just exciting to watch where her palate would go, what her interests were. Nancy is like a nucleus, she draws people into her orbit. -She’s difficult. Nancy is meticulous. -Obsessed which is fueled by a raging curiosity. -Above all of those things, I think she is so good at getting out of each person that works for her what her vision is. [music] -With Nancy, you know that there’s something she’s searching for in her brain that is unique. -My late husband Jonathan Gold called it urban rustic. It’s not just about the meat and the vegetables, but all of the little things that go with it. -She is still so interested and excited about what she does on a daily basis. It’s so inspiring. -She found this way of combining Italian food and California food and melded it into something that actually turned out to be game-changing. -It’s fascinating to me that she became so besotted with Italy because when I first met Nancy, she was besotted with bread. -Hello, John Davis. -Hey, boss. How are you? -Do you have an apron for me, something? -Yes, I do. -Okay. -What about your glass of wine? -I’ll take that as well. My free glass of wine that I get for showing up and visiting you. [chuckles] -I met Nancy in 1991 when I did an internship at Campanile Restaurant which is one of her first restaurants and then eventually got hired on as a pastry assistant and then eventually became a pastry chef. Nancy is our founder and we like to collaborate and we like to work together. -Always helps with cooking. -There you have it. -Well, perhaps with baking bread. -Enjoy it. -I will. -You come very well dressed to bake. -You can tell that I don’t bake anymore. Caramelized onion and olive breadsticks. -Your salt is over here and here’s your yeast. I’m using dry and then here’s your olive oil. -Great. La Brea Bakery when I created it, I didn’t know where it was going to lead. It wasn’t like there was a model or I said, “What I want to do is I want to build a bakery and then I want to turn it into an empire and then I want to write a cookbook and then I want–” You know? Nothing was premeditated, it was as simple as I was going to open a restaurant, there wasn’t a lot of good bread available in Los Angeles, why don’t I try to figure out how to bake a loaf? That was really the story of La Brea Bakery, nothing more than that. -The starter we use is what Nancy created 30 years ago and we’ve been continually using it. Here’s the starter we keep that’s been around for 30 years. The starter is now in all of our bakeries. We have one on the east coast in New Jersey. We have a large one here in Los Angeles, in Van Nuys. It’s also made it all the way over to Ireland, where we have a bakery over there. Then we also house it in a sourdough library in Belgium. When I first started working with Nancy, I was straight out of culinary school. She definitely demands perfection. -I was not a yeller. I’m not a yeller. I know that. -No, you’re not a yeller. -You’d be lying. -[chuckles] I do remember getting yelled at by her though. Must not have been you. -Not by me. -[chuckles] [music] -My late husband, Jonathan was the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and what he loved about following Nancy was following her obsessions. -We’re adding flavor to it that it can’t help it taste good and smell good when it comes out of the oven. -She will latch onto something like she did with bread and it was just exciting to watch where her palate would go, what her interests were. -I know that there’s been several aspects of my cooking career that have given me notoriety for lack of a better word. Starting with when I did the desserts at Spago, then moving on to Campanile and La Brea bakery. I became known for my bread. -When Nancy and Mark Peel decided to open Campanile in Los Angeles. It was considered a major food event. -Then I watched her fall in love and I watched that love start to seep into the plates. Mozzarella is what changed everything for Nancy. [music] -Good morning. Some bufala, bocconcini. Maybe one affumicata. -One affumicata. -Yes. -You’re going to have a good lunch today. -The bufala that we use at our restaurants in Los Angeles comes from Italy, comes from exactly the same area. I have to say it tastes nothing like the bufala that you eat in Italy because bufala has a short shelf life but it’s not supposed to be refrigerated. It firms up and it turns into something else. It’s the best that we can do but there’s nothing like eating it here. As soon as you bite into it it’s like a sponge, and all of the milk oozes out, and that experience you don’t get in the United States. [music] -Dirty boots. [music] -With the bufala, how many girls how many boys? -We have 400 girls here, adult girls and there’s one boy per 25 females. We are in full mating season now because the mating season goes from March to September. And so they should be at work. -Hard work. Right? -Hard work, yes. -Hard work, but someone’s got to do it. [music] -You can tell the boys by the size. The size of the horns and the size of the animal. -Look at that. Oh, I want to go under that. -That that machine is never still basically because they love being scratched and they take turns and they actually fight for the scratcher. -I love that they know to go there. -Yes, I think we’re going to have to get more because actually, we’ve seen that animal well being brings more production and better production. -Is the original mozzarella bufala? -Yes. Actually in Italy, we have a distinction we call mozzarella the one from bufala, fior di latte is the one from cows. -You don’t even say mozzarella di bufala you just say mozzarella and you know right away that that means it’s from bufala and when it is from a cow, fior di latte. -Fior di latte it’s from a cow. He’s very curious. -Where do they like to be touched? -Generally the nose. -The nose? -They really like it. -Hello, nose. Each of these bufala they get milked twice a day? -Yes. -Each one. -Each one. They know when the time is, so you’ll see they’ll be waiting outside of the gate. -Wow, because they’re like heavy. -Actually we are in the moment where the bufala milk is the highest price ever. There’s a huge shortage of buffalo milk because there’s high demand and not a big population of buffalos. I’m very glad that we are in Tuscany because the brand is very strong in any food product. Wine, oil, you name it. We are actually the only producer from Tuscany that can say that the milk 100% from Tuscany. -Right. [music] -Let’s separate it. Wow. Nice. -The stairs. -Attention. This is like my house. [music] -It’s very small. Very small cheese factory. -Small. Yes, we work with small quantities, just our milk. All our products are made with 100% buffalo starting from mozzarella cheese. We’re the only dairy producer in Maremma that produces 100% buffalo products. We have some curd we obtained from milk. Then some whey is added. It’s like sourdough bread. We add rennet to whey and then there’s a procedure of breaking, and drying. This is the result. I’ll let you taste it. Now it’s tasteless because obviously adding hot water, fat dissolves. -It’s still good. It still taste good but it doesn’t taste finished. It doesn’t taste finished. -This one here goes into the machine that carves the paste. It’s put in here, and we start with maturation. -This right now is just stringy and separate and it doesn’t really feel alive at this point. -Now he’s adding hot boiling water, so it can be stretched. Be careful, it’s very hot. It becomes white as a pearl. -I don’t want to ruin their cheese. Am I doing it right? I’m not getting any direction. -You need to stir in the other direction. -We’ll do it together. That’s better, together. I’ve done it in small batches with a wooden spoon. Not like this stuff. -You change direction so that the paste is well laid out and absorbs all the water. -Now, it’s mozzarella, right? -Yes. Now, this is mozzarella. -Pasta mozzarella. -The paste goes into that machine which gives us the size we want based on the roll we put in. [music] -What is he– Oh, wow. Look at that. How many kilos? -Two kilos. I made 17 of them this morning. -Just the way he fondles it you know what he’s thinking about. I’ll tell you. -We’re in Tuscany and it’s zizzona Maremmana. -Wow. [laughter] -Yes. [chuckles] [music] [truck backing up] -Nancy and I were on the truck yesterday. We found a couple ingredients like the Castelfranco and the baby radicchio that been bothering Dragan about for a while now. We’re really excited to see it on the truck finally. -How are you, Nancy? Everything good? -What’s with the handshake? -Come on. Give me some love. -Wait, are these oroblanco? -Yes. -When did these come in? -Just starting right now. Liz, you’ve got to try this. You’ve got to try this. -Do you have mustard flowers? -Yes. -Well, look at this size. -Can I have two? -Sure. Nancy, I have some really nice spigarello and Erbette chard. -Where? -Guys, you got to check these out. Liz. -I love spigarello. -Should we do 12 bunches? This is 12. -Yes, 12. Perfect. [music] -Cooking is a craft really. It’s something where you master materials. You did it every day and your intense repetition and commitment is what creates the excellence. With Nancy, this part of her is very focused. If you ever watched her make egg salad, the woman’s a maniac in the best possible way. She knows what she wants it to look like. She knows what she wants it to taste like, to feel like, to smell like. She does not rest until she gets there. -My only concern is, is it going to eat too dry. Let’s just do a vinaigrette around. A drizzle of vinaigrette just around here, the onions and everything but not there. -She has a really great palate. We’ll eat something and two days later, two months later, six months later, she’ll say do you remember that? Here it is but this is my version. She would have improved upon it. [music] -My ex-wife. -Ex-ex-wife. -Ex-ex-wife. -I think Nancy will always be relevant. I can’t think of anybody who’s made a more important mark on the food of the city and also food to push the national conversation about dining and food and ingredients and artisan-ship. -First chicken tender I ever had was about four days ago. I was in my kitchen trying to figure out what to make. -Really? -I never had it, have you? -Really? -The face of Nancy for years was the product. She didn’t want to be shown. She wanted the food to speak for her. The thing that’s happening now is people are learning who she is. They’re seeing her face. -Thank you. These are incredible. My second one. It’s so good. -Oh, have a third. We have plenty. -Yes, it’s so good. Thank you. -Nancy is a true legend. She is the queen. -Thank you. [background conversation] -I know that I was one of the earlier well-known cooks in Los Angeles that went off track and as opposed to opening up another high-end restaurant, decided to open a pizzeria that was new for Los Angeles. Certainly moving on to the Osteria and putting the mozzarella cheese as a big star of our menu. -Yes, it’s in the city but based on grilled food but also bringing in a lot of great Italian flavors but making it all California. It’s very exciting to watch. [music] -Her mom Doris was an incredibly creative eccentric woman. Eccentric in the best way that she just had tons and tons of curiosity. She also was a very adventurous home cook. Her father Larry really was a close friend of my dad’s and they would go traveling together. -My mother passed away a number of years ago. My father just passed away it would be I think four years in March. I was just finishing the book Mozza At Home. We had dinner together almost every night. It was always at 6:30. That was where we were together as a family. -Cheers. [crosstalk] -Thank you. The table that I have in my house now was the table I grew up with until I was 10 years old. It’s still one of my favorite pieces of furniture. [music] -Nancy has three kids. The oldest one is named Vanessa and the middle son is named Ben and then the youngest is named Oliver. I feel like I’ve always been close with Nancy and all of her kids. When Vanessa was born, I think she was back to work like two or three days later. It was much easier when they moved to Campanile because they lived in an apartment over the restaurant. She could just run up and down the stairs. She always made it work. They lived on the third floor in the apartment. We used to call the VIP lounge because you could order dinner and they would just bring it upstairs to you. Sometimes people would drink too much and they would go looking for the bathroom and they’d come up all the way up the stairs and then they would be a drunk person in the living room. [chuckles] You have to direct them. [background conversation] -It is so pretty. We’re so lucky to be in this place where we find treasures every weekend at the local little markets. Today we’re in another. You got all these treasures and you keep saying it’s not for home. This is for a project I’m working on. -Well, no. I bought some for home here. I never bring anything I buy here back to Los Angeles because I like to have two different styled kitchens. [music] -This time in Italy I’m actually shopping for one of new projects. I’m taking over, I told you that, the restaurant in the historic lobby at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I thought it would be great this time in Italy, this summer to focus on buying treasures for that. [music] [background conversation] -Really beautiful. -You could just visualize sitting at the lobby ordering say like I just want a couple of things to snack on. Then I come over your table and I serve on that. Put a little olive, a little almonds, a little potato chips, and maybe a few crackers, right? -Beautiful. -When that comes to the table like that it already tastes better. -Absolutely. It is such a treasure. -It’s so pretty until someone steals it. [chuckles] -Until someone steals it. Five. We need five. Here it is. -Here’s forty. -Five. -Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure. -Thank you. Have a nice day. -These are coffee grinders and they’re super beautiful. I’ve never used them as a coffee grinder but they are the best pepper grinders. Whole black peppers. What I love about it is that it’s shrewdly coarse. I love coarse black pepper. It feels good. -[crosstalk] Totally. More importantly, we have to think about dinner tomorrow night. -Even though I think that I leave myself plenty of time. I’m saying like okay, 8:00 o’clock dinner. That’s like okay, I wake up at 7.00. How could you not possibly cook for 20 people in that many hours? Yet you always at the last minute you’re just scrambling to make the table look good. These people have paid a lot of money for this dinner for childhood cancer research. I’m not worried. You know what? If one of those things doesn’t happen or a couple of other things. -Even though everybody did pay a lot of money for this special night with Nancy. -I always get it done. -You deliver. -I always finish. When I plan for a party I got to either the Tavarnelle market on Monday and I supplement it just with the Italian grocery store and I fill my fireplace with all the vegetables. When you come to my house you’re going to see bowls of onions. You’re going to see cauliflower. You’re going to see red peppers. You’re going to see tomatoes. Slowly one by one I bring that bowl to my counter and I- -Prepare it. –prepare it, cook it, it comes out prepared. -It’s a succulent– -It goes back to the fireplace. -Exactly and I get to be a part of it. -It’s easy to have a memorable meal in Italy no matter what it is. If I made the same in Los Angeles as I made here, it’s going to taste better here. There’s a home for it. -There’s a home for all these wonderful things. These treasures that you find. -I did buy enough for my house. [music] -When you come into my home, maybe I’m expressing it with colors. Maybe I’m expressing it with details of things that I like or things that are simple but I find to be beautiful. Sometimes it’s just shapes. I think that’s the same with my food. I think that people that know me could see 10 plates of food done by 10 different people and I think that they could pick out the one that I did. I think that’s important for a cook to know themselves enough to be able to put that on a plate. All in a day’s work, right? An edible masterpiece if I do say so myself. -Do you have your tickets? Welcome to the Nancy Silverton Museum. Local artist. This was a typical basement all messed up and all these rewards were laying around downstairs. I just put them together. This is from the Nancy Silverton Day. This is another thing from the city. [music] -We met on match.com. [chuckles] No, we didn’t. The programmer would be fired from match.com if they got us together. We’re opposites. Not opposite but we’re not the typical together thing. I like this picture of Nancy with her hair all wild. That’s a good shot. This bottle here, one of our friends they had that. There’s wine still in here. That’s good to know. We met at a bar. It was her bar, but it was bar. On Thursday nights at her old restaurant, she’d get behind the bar and make grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s called Grilled Cheese Night. I went for the sandwiches, stayed for her. [music] -I need a drink. -You’re a journalist and an author? -I wrote one book. I guess that, you know. -Tell me a little bit. Who are you? What do you do? -I’m a journalist. I covered the street gangs in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central. It makes for the contrast of being in the housing projects during the day, Nicholson Guards, Jordan Downs, and then come to Mozza at night. I love the contrast. It’s a wonderful life. [music] [background conversation] -Just like I love and appreciate beautiful food, I also love that on my body. Simple, beautiful shapes, colors, and textures. I love it. It’s cute. -It’s very cute. -I would never use the word improvisation either in Nancy’s food or in the way she dresses. I think she’s very intentional in the way she approaches her ingredients. I definitely think that how she puts herself together is in that same level of intentionality. -If I put any of those elements on, I would look crazy. -Wow. I do not feel comfortable in a baggy pair of jeans and an oversized sweatshirt. This is exciting. It’s not even work. I’m more comfortable when I get up in the morning and I get to curate what I’m going to wear that day. Hi. -Hi. -Morning. -Morning. -How are you? Just like I like to curate how a plate is going to look. -If you talk to Nancy about how she puts together let’s say salad, you will understand that every single leaf gets hit with salt or acid or fat. There’s no part left unseasoned. I feel that she’s like that with the way she puts herself together. Then the crown, of course, is her hair and all the tiny little beautiful barrettes that she uses to take her unruly, curly tresses and keep them nice and in control. I love it. That’s it. [music] -Opening up a new restaurant at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was not something that I looked for, it was an opportunity that came to me, and because the Roosevelt Hotel is such an iconic hotel, especially if you grew up in Los Angeles, I thought it was a great opportunity. Hi. -Hi, [chuckles] Have you been here since this went up? -You know what, I was here the day– We were here the day that they cleared everything out. -That big demo day. -Yes, but- -Wait till you see it now. –it was not the wall up, but what’s so interesting is you wouldn’t even know that there’s anything behind it. -I know. -That day you knew that a restaurant was being torn apart. -Yes, it was coming. [music] -I forget. Does the fountain sing or going? -The fountain and the chandelier get re-envisioned, so new design, but they stay as part of the– -It has to be a fountain. -Fountain and there has to be a chandelier. Do you want to see the restaurant? -Yes. Are they working now in here? -They are, we’ve got a team in there. They just completed the demo and they’re doing all the guts of the operation now. Really opened up. -Yes, really opened up. -You are walking into your show kitchen right now. -Which is, how long? -Essentially, it starts here and will go all the way to here. -So much longer than I thought. Look how beautiful the windows are. -Yes, they really stand out. Here you have your banquette seatings. -That is the bar in the lobby. -That’s the lobby sidebar. -Wow. -This gets all new finishing. -Then will you be able to see through or no, is the wall going back as a back bar? -There’ll be a back bar that’s essentially here but you will be able to have some sight vision through to the lobby. -Boy, it looks just so much bigger. -Pretty dramatic. -It is. [music] -When I first was offered the opportunity to open up a restaurant at the Hollywood Roosevelt, the owners didn’t tell me what kind of restaurant to open. They said, “What do you think should be here?” Given the history of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, I felt that the restaurant that went in there should be some sort of a traditional restaurant, and I wanted it to be one that could have been there since the opening of the hotel. I immediately thought about a steakhouse. I started to think about my father’s ancestors and the fact that they were cattle farmers. I love their last name Bearish, it’s just a classic name, the Bearish, it feels solid, and it feels timeless and it feels like a restaurant that could be there forever. This was given to me in 1972. That many years ago, the author of this small paperback book did the history of Canadian Jews in Saskatchewan, Canada, and my ancestors, my father’s mother’s side of the family was part of the settlement. There was their farm. This was in 1912. The logo of the Bearish has that diamond, so the graphic designers try to incorporate part of the logo with the detail on the farm. -How’s the menu progressing here? -Great. We spend a lot of time writing menu that’s too big, so we are paring it down, but at those menu meetings, I interact with them and give them my vision of the menu and how it will play out, and they’re taking that language and turning it into tasty food and they’re doing really great. -One of the great things about Nancy is that she loves working with people who have great new ideas and talent. She gets into a mind-meld with another chef and they exchange ideas and come up with something great. I think a chef can take something to her with an idea and she will make it better and better and better so that you can achieve that idea that you had in your head that wasn’t quite working yet. -I’m wondering, do you think we should put the- have a vanilla that also has eggs in it. What I’m trying to teach to the cooks that work with me is really giving them not only the encouragement but the respect and a little bit of my opinion and helping them to develop into leaders and mentors and better cooks themselves, so that when they leave my kitchen, they can carry on and help other people to become better cooks and better leaders. [background conversation] [music] [background noise] [music] [background conversation] -Nancy is one of the most interesting people I know in this business. I think her role now is much more global in terms of the brand and the restaurants and the management. I’m sure that makes her nuts in a way because she’s a chef and she wants to have her hands in. I think that’s one reason why she’s so involved with Matt Molina who was the Executive Chef at Mozza and then he left to do Triple Beam Pizza. I think she loves working with Matt. They have an incredible rapport in the way they think about food. It keeps her young and rooted in a younger world. -What I was saying to Diego last time or what I’ve talked to him about with the knots is that I felt that, as opposed to just having say a garlic butter, I love what you and I actually taught them to do at the pizzeria which was having whole cloves of caramelized garlic in there. This could be, eventually, kind of your stuffed roll. It could be a meat pie. It could be a whatever you want to throw in this because it holds its shape so well. It bakes with a beautiful color. It can be anything. This could be your– -Yes, it’s a vehicle. -It’s a vehicle. Really Diego, worlds better. -It’s good, dude. -Nancy is one of my biggest mentors. She is a friend. I would say mainly she is someone that I can collaborate with and could take advice from or I can go and have a glass of wine with. We bounce a lot of ideas off of each other. We get the best out of each other. -Try that. After you’re done chewing. [music] -That’s it. [phone rings] -Oh Jesus. What? That’s fine. Yes, we just don’t want– Okay. Did you find the Tartufo? What about pepato? They have a quarter like the pepperoncini. No, one with black pepper. Yes, I know. That’s fine. That quarter one. Black pepper. They have two. Pepato. I don’t know what else to say to you. I don’t know what else to say. You got the bufala? Yes, but did you get mozzarella or did you get bufala? He’s fired. -I know. -No, Billy. I can’t talk to him. You talk to him. He needs bufala. [chuckles] Tell him. All right. -Okay. -You can’t get good help anymore. -You’ve been handed over to Corina because you got Nancy on frustration level. [chuckles] I give up. I couldn’t do it. -It has to say bufala. If it doesn’t then it’s not bufala. He’s got a list. -I know. It’s like, really? -Tell him I said to him to continue on to Rome and get a flight back home. [laughter] [music] -We might be able to cross something else off the list, which would be unbelievable. It’s 45 minutes to wine time. Wine time is always 12 o’clock at my house. -Let’s pretend it’s noon. -I’ve never had a real helper in the kitchen. This is quite a treat. Wine time might be at 11:30 as opposed to 12:00. -I know, well– [music] -Basil pesto that I make here tastes nothing like the basil pesto that I make in Los Angelas, but all the herbs have such a better flavor that I’m used to. That’s a lot of pesto. -That is gorgeous. -Look at that color. It’s just, it feels like Italy to me. [music] -This is aperitivo. We have some cheese, crackers, olives, just a little snack that when people arrive and usually the dinner is not quite ready, they’ve got something to snack on. All right. I think that does it. [music] -I don’t know why I am so obsessed with food and it’s not so much eating, but there’s something about the ingredients that it takes to put together something delicious I’m fascinated with. I think for me, really, what drives me is flavor. Flavor and beauty. Is this what you’ve been waiting for? -Thank you very much. Awesome. -The bufala. -We all really like to get together and have dinner and it’s never not fun. -I like to cook with people as often as I can. It makes it more fun. I like the aesthetic. When it’s someone like Deb and a handful of other friends that I have, that we have a similar aesthetic, I’m happy to cook together and really looking forward to the dinner party we’re having tonight. -Wine time. -It’s always wine time for me. -It’s always wine time. -I’ve got an open bottle of red. -This guy? -Yes. -These are pretty glasses. -Yes. I’m going to use them tonight for our party. -These are beautiful. -Deb worked for me for a few years at the Osteria, and we’d love to talk about food and talk about ideas. She comes to me with dishes she’s working on. Okay, I’m going to get this in the oven. Hey, you know what? I clipped some fresh bay leaves from my tree. How about a few bay leaves? -I like that idea. -We grew together as cooks and still growing together. Deb visited me last summer in Italy and we cooked together and turned it into a wonderful dinner party and it was so fun. I learned so much from her. You make something that complements and changes what I make already. That’s how some of these dishes came about. -This is a Persian lime. -When you say it’s Persian lime, it’s Persian fresh– It was a Persian-French lime and variety. -Right. It’s– -It’s not like a key lime or a Mexican lime, it’s a– -Correct. That’s what Persians who live in America call a Persian lime, but it’s called limoo amani. That’s the Persian way to say it. [music] -Nancy has a whole thing about, she doesn’t when people show up at the house and the candles have just started like that, so you have to pre-burn everything so that it looks casual and not like it’s a catalog picture or something like that. The way that Nancy plates food, everything’s supposed to look like it either fell from the sky or grew from the plate, so it’s the same then with the flowers. All these leaves are all turned, so they look they’re facing the sun. These are so cute. My first job out of college was working at La Brea bakery. I was her assistant for a lot of it. I don’t have any culinary experience, and I would go on weekends with her where I was chopping up herbs as she was getting ready for an event, and now I’m a florist, and so I do flowers, as Nancy would have me do. I do the flowers for her restaurant. I personally kept coming back to be a part of her inner circle because she inspires me. She’s always been my mentor, and I know that anything that I’m working on if I approach it with the same earnestness that she does, I know that I’ll do it better. -Hey, Nicholas, how are you doing? -Hi, Nancy. -Nicholas. -Pretty smashing? -Pretty, pretty smash– Are you keeping these in my metal sculpture? I like it. -Yes, it’s so convenient you have this brutalist sculpture because I’m using it as the basis for the floral arrangement. -Oh, this table is going to look fantastic. You know that we’re only using this for food. This table– Oh, you’ve already started on this. -I thought we needed to get a sense of what all the sizes are for everything because I don’t want to make the arrangements too high. -My thought was, when everybody comes, rather than a stand-up cocktail hour, I thought we would all sit down and we’re going to eat some mozzarella, and some fried peppers, and some crackers, and bufala mozzarella. -Lovely. -It’s only like 12 people or something like that if everybody shows up. Everyone supposedly is coming at 6:30. -I guess I better get going on the buffet. -Yes, because we need that whole long table for all of it. -I’ll finish that. -By the way, there’s plenty of food to eat. -Yes, I will stay, and food sounds good too. -[laughs] Thanks. All right, I’ll see in a bit. -Okay. -Okay if I rough chop these herbs? -Yes, and mix them together. -And you’re going to add them later on? -Yes. -Okay, all right. All right, Deb, this is really rough. -I like it. Do you like it? -I do for you, but it’s like, if anybody at my restaurant said, “How’s this chopped parsley,” I would definitely send it back. [chuckles] -I like it like that. -No, it’s good. [music] -I like it. -That’s fine. -Me too. Okay, so rice, carrots. -Ribs. -Ribs. [music] -Let’s start plating, okay? I love that blue one. -I love this– -No, but I like that one. That looks so Persian. -For the rice? -Yes. Sorry, but it’s a– -That’s a compliment. I love that color. [music] -All right, I’m just going to pile my potatoes in here with all the garlic. I’m going to crumble in my cooked rosemary and sage because I love it in there. I’m really very happy with these potatoes. -Yes, they look so good. -You know what? I have to say, you know what makes it pleasurable for me to entertain? -Tell me. -Is I just love having all the right- -Stuff. –stuff to serve it in, to serve it with. It just makes it that much more enjoyable. -I wish we could always entertain together. [music] -[uncorks bottle of wine] Yes. -I like it. -The color is so pretty too. -Perfect, great. -God, when I uncorked that wine, amazing. -I thought it looked amazing. -Amazing. -These are almost done on the fat side. We’ll go inside, do the rice. I’ll come back for these. [music] -We’re ready to party. [music] -Can you see what’s on the table? Ike, look what’s on the table. -There’s wine. -I see nona’s juice- -Look at him smiling. –and I see mozzarella. -Did you see the candle, do you see it? Do I hear momma? Do I hear momma? -Margy’s here. -You’re late Margaret, what’s the time? This is my daughter. My figlio. -Figlia. -Figlia, sorry, and this is my–? -Nipote. -Nipote. -Vanessa and her husband Raif are always there, Laurie Ochoa and her two kids are always there and everybody really enjoys each others’ company. -This one? -Yes, that’s a free agent. This is here, I’m going to put it right there. -The final- it’s always just down to the very last, last minute. This is actually just going to go right there. We’ve completely run out of space. -The platter, right? -Yes. What time do you want to grill? -You need need to grill because we’re going to eat mozzarella, how long is it going to take? -[crosstalk] I’m going to do this with rice. -Tell everyone to sit down. -Per favore, take a seat. -Let’s come sit down. -Please. [background conversations] -Deb and I made a really lovely buffet, so I hope you like it, and you can come up and help yourself. Where’s Deb? Deb? -Yes. -You’ve got to help me pronounce everything, I can’t. -Okay. Lamb riblets with a Persian lime spice, eggplant with Persian whey and turmeric onions. -Pepperonata with onions and olives. These are– -Celery. -This is so good. -This is– -Finally, something delicious. [laughter] -Thank you, Vanessa. -This is celery stew. -Roasted potatoes. -Potatoes. -Bagna cauda, for those who like anchovy with their potatoes. What I feel like I’m doing is I’m bringing people together, hopefully at a table where the pleasure of eating and being together makes people closer. -I just want to say, only at my mom’s table is the wine glass bigger than the water glass. -Thank you, Vanessa, very much. -It’s always the opposite. -That’s good, it’s a good idea. -That’s how it should be. -It’s like, “Here’s a thimble of water.” -These are wine glasses. [music] -Certainly, I really appreciate dishes that are very, very simple. I think that there’s different aspects of the cooking process that speaks to people and I think for me, really what drives me is flavor. What matters to me in the food that I make, it’s very simple, I want to make something that’s delicious. When a dish tastes like it’s satisfying, I feel like you taste the food of somebody’s soul. [music]

About the Instructor

James Beard Award-winning chef, best-selling cookbook author, and the restaurateur behind Michelin-starred Mozza, Nancy Silverton takes viewers on a journey from her home in Panicale, Italy, to her home in Los Angeles. Viewers learn a range of Nancy’s renowned dishes, including her signature Caesar Salad, Chi Spacca Pepper Steak, 10+ vegetarian dishes, Mom’s Apple Pie, and more.

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John Doe

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