A Man and His Meatballs: The Hilarious but True Story of a Self-Taught Chef and Restaurateur

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Harper Collins, Oct 24, 2006 - Cooking - 240 pages
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A hilariously funny cookbook–cum–how–I–did–it memoir by the chef/restaurateur who created New York's dazzling 聯izz 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–聯izz 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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    My Back Story
    Finding the spot and Demolition
    The BuildOut
    Down to the Wire Preopening Scramble
    My Life as a Chef
    Appetizers and Antipasti
    Pasta and Risotto
    Meats and Poultry
    Basic Recipes

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    Popular passages

    Page 136 - Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.
    Page 118 - Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
    Page 138 - Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm.
    Page 97 - Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is evaporated, about IO minutes.
    Page 139 - While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender yet firm.
    Page 91 - Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

    About the author (2006)

    John LaFemina is the owner and executive chef at 聯izz and the Orchard and co-owner of Peasant, three of New York's hottest Italian restaurants. His wife, Pam Manela, is a publicist and founder of In House Public Relations. They live in New York City with their daughter, Tess.

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