2013 | Frank Bonanno

Yearly Archives: 2013

Classic Carbonara with a Spring Twist



I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Clear Creek Organics operation. The bounty Stephen Cochenour sent me away with –sugar and snap peas, bi-colored zuchini, spring garlic–inspired a spectacular dinner later that evening.

This spin on carbonara, one of my favorite pasta dishes, was so easy to execute (and so very satisfying to eat), I thought it well worth sharing.

Enjoy!  –Frank


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It Starts Here & Grows Daily



For years, I didn’t have training manuals for the restaurants. There was only Mizuna, after all, and I knew that staff intimately. Then we grew to Luca, and we were all still friendly peers. I used to say “If you’re here, working with me, then you’re an adult and a professional. You know what’s expected.” That sentence was enough.

Bones was the first training manual, the first time I worked with relative strangers in my own kitchen and on the floor, so the first item of business was to form a list of expectations. Not don’ts–everyone has those–but “do’s.” This Is What I Want Always.

Each opening gives the management team an opportunity to amend the list, nurturing it in a way, and so it grows as we do, defining us in bullet list.

I wanted to share it, because businesses create these tools, and it strikes me that it’s important to pass [ Read More ]

Breaking Down the Animal


There was this old German instructor at the CIA—patient and kind with big, meaty hands and quick, calloused sausage fingers. He took great care in his professional appearance, crisp ironed chef whites, neckerchief, tilted toque—and he clearly loved what he was doing. He was a chef who inspired his students, passionate, engaged, teaching us the mother sauces and seasoning just so, verbally clarifying, gently guiding.  Perfect stocks. Impeccable knife skills. Watching him could be painful, though. Even the exertion of rocking his blade across a cutting board caused him to break out in a sweat. He labored to carry his girth across the room. You could practically hear his hips grind when he walked, both knees completely shot, his back bent from decades of lifting pots that, if raised now, racked his breathing and strained his arms. Such a great instructor, a great cook, but his body was just tired. [ Read More ]

Finally, A Cure for Fatty Thighs


Andrew Boyer is in the Luca kitchen doing really beautiful work with a pig. He’s celebrating, in his quiet way, a cautious victory, the way all good cooks celebrate—with their hands, their knives, their skills, lovingly recreating their happiness and sharing it with you.

Let me backtrack.

For over a decade, once a week and often twice, a whole eviscerated Berkshire hog arrived at the delivery entrance to Luca d’Italia. For years, when a Luca chef addressed a pig, it was to utilize every part of her. Copa de teste from the head and guanciale from the jowls; hind legs trussed into fine prosciutto, the shoulders turned to copa. After boning out the entire pig, we turned the remaining meat—tenderloin, pork loin, belly—into a farce, rolled it into the skin for a luscious porcetta to be thickly sliced and crisped up for dinner. Using some pork to cook, some to cure, paddling [ Read More ]