Every Jamie Oliver fan will know the name Gennaro Contaldo: Jamie's mentor, guide, inspiration and frequent guest on his television shows. Owner of Passione, a top Italian restaurant in London, his origins are much more humble. Born on the Amalfi coast, he started work in the local restaurants at the tender age of 8 and moved to Britain in 1969, working in restaurants across the country, honing his skills as a master chef. Here he shares not only his restaurant's best-loved dishes but recipes from "home" - childhood favourites and the Italian coastal region's specialities from where he originates. Simple chicken broth, Neapolitan pizza and risotto "terrone" intermingle with the more exotic tagliolini with black truffle, stuffed globe artichokes and guinea fown with pancetta and raisins. Juices run and saliva builds up over Gennaro's mouth-watering descriptions of the origins of these recipes, the familial ties and sumptuous photographs of Jason Lowe. Interspersed with Gennaro's own family photographs, this is a humbling picture of one of London's top restaurant owners and chefs, dispelling the myth of high falutin' prima donnas and explaining a lot of Jamie Oliver's ethos in the kitchen. - Lucy Watson
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About the Author
Gennaro Contaldo began to work in the kitchens of local restaurants in Amalfi at the age of eight. In 1969, he moved to Britain where he travelled from the Midlands to Loch Lomond, training in village restaurants and studying the wild food of the area. He then worked as a chef in several London restaurants before opening his own, Passione, in London's Fitzrovia. Gennaro is currently involved with Jamie Oliver in setting up 'Jamie's Italian', a collection of nationwide restaurants. He lives in London with his partner Liz and their gorgeous twins Chloe and Olivia.