The inspiration for The Journey came at the bar of I Sodi, a restaurant well known for its Negronis, a cocktail widely admired for its strong character. The owner and chef, Rita Sodi, is a former fashion executive with no prior restaurant experience who defied the odds by opening a restaurant in New York City in 2008 when our country’s economy was at its lowest point.
The reasons for I Sodi’s success and sustained popularity are many, but a principal one is that the food is as personal and honest as any you will find in the city. Rita wants you to experience the food you would have eaten if you'd been invited to sit at her family's table in Tuscany. She has achieved this not just by teaching her cooks how to cook her food, but also by teaching them about her culture and, more generally, her way of doing things. As she writes, "Maybe they had to relearn things they already knew, but I was looking for an end result that would be true to my culture. That is the most important thing in my restaurant."
As you will discover by reading this book, chefs Alex Raij, Maneet Chauhan, and Katy Sparks also defied the odds and found great success in a competitive business not known for favoring women. It's their stories that provide the foundation for a collection of deeply personal and inspiring recipes that reflect a focus on craft, integrity, family, and creativity.
On a practical level, the recipes found within are not like most recipes you'll find on popular recipe websites or apps or—most especially—in printed cookbooks. Instructional photographs and concise technique videos provide rich color and detail. Visual ingredient and equipment lists help with getting organized, and professional chef tips found within the ingredient list and method of each recipe help you save time and sharpen your skills in the kitchen.
Each of the chefs featured in this edition has one or more popular restaurants or will soon open a new restaurant. If you're in New York City, or Nashville in Maneet's case, pay them a visit. And if you find your way to I Sodi, I highly recommend one of the featured Negronis as an aperitif. In the meantime here's one you can make at home to kick off a meal with any one of the delicious recipes found here.
- 1 ounce Plymouth gin
- 1 ounce Carpano Punt e Mes sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari
- Shaved orange peel
Pour the Campari, vermouth, and gin over ice in a chilled rocks glass and stir. Garnish with the orange peel.