chef: tony mazzola
location: tony's italian restaurant, topton, pa
recipe: chicken cacciatore
I was influenced most by my family.
Where did you learn to cook?
I started cooking when I was 15 years old in Sicily. When I came here, i worked for my brother in a pizza shop. I never went to school, but I learned a lot from my brother. A lot of my recipes also came from my mother, and my grandmother.
There isn't one in particular. Once in a while I will buy an Italian cookbook, just to look around for something new --but that's it.
What's the one ingredient you could not live without?
Garlic and onions.
Favorite Microbrew beer or wine?
Carlo Rossi Paisano (a good Chianti). I also make my own wine, 125 gallons —a Chianti. Me and my brother make it, we get the grapes from California.
Favorite music to listen to while cooking?
Italian music. The best singer is Andrea Bocelli.
What is your favorite type of food?
Pasta. Homemade meatballs, homemade sausage --I like a Braciolettine. Veal stuffed with egg, onions, salami, and ham. Wrap it up, and cook it in sauce, let it cook one hour and have spaghetti on the side. It's my favorite meal at home.
Most memorable meal?
A Ragú with family and friends.
Most memorable dinner guest?
We haven't had any famous people come in, being in a little town like this. Occasionally some New Yorkers will come through.
Most irritating celebrity chef?
I don't know who is most irritating. The one I like the best is Mario Batali.
What makes indie food better?
It's a family thing. Corporations, you need to have many more places. I like to have one store, which is run buy our family.