Time and Place
Your cooking must embrace the place where you’re cooking and the time of year. I use local ingredients when they are in season here in northern California and when I cook in Italy, sourcing organic produce from farms near San Francisco or in the local Italian markets.
In San Francisco I eat tomatoes and figs only during the summer and early fall, when they are their best. I also buy ingredients imported from Italia. For example, I don’t think there are good American substitutes for some products from the region of Campania: dried pasta extruded through a bronze die; San Marzano canned tomatoes; mozzarella di bufala. In my demonstrations, I’ll let you know where I’m cooking and the season. And, I’ll let you know what the recipe ingredients are and where I got them.
Buy the Best
Most of what I cook can be described as la cucina povera or la cucina rustica dal mezzogiorno, the peasant cooking of southern Italy, especially the region of Campania. The dishes are simple and use few ingredients. That’s why I only buy the best meat, seafood, seasonal produce, and ingredients from Italy that go into each dish. Buy the best, keep the best of the best, and you’re 90% to making a good dish!