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How to Cook the Best Food Southern Italy Has to Offer

Celebrated London-based chef Francesco Mazzei, in his first cookbook, illustrates the dishes he learned from his family as a boy in southern Italy.
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Source: Penguin Random House

Francesco Mazzei was an eight-year-old boy in southern Italy when he asked his father for money to buy sneakers and jeans. Dad joked that he should get a job, which is exactly what Mazzei did.

He went to work in his uncle's ice-cream shop, a move for which many of us should thank his dad, for it was Mazzei's first step toward becoming a chef. Not that Mazzei Sr. was happy when his son decided to train as a cook: It wasn't a respected job in Calabria at that time, and both parents were devastated.