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Chef Nancy Silverton At Chino Farm

An unusual book-signing will take place this Sunday at Chino Farms near Fairbanks Ranch. Chef Nancy Silverton will sign copies of The Mozza Cookbook and serve up some seasonal vegetables.
Guests: Nancy Silverton, co-owner, Pizzeria Mozza Milane Christiansen, Vintage Works

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Independent book sellers in San Diego and around the country are having to get more and more create testify stay relevant in an Internet book buying world. And bringing there ares to the people is one way to step a step ahead of the web. Such an event is coming up this weekend, featuring a celebrated chef, and a famous local farm stand. I'd like to welcome Milane Christiansen, whose book store, the book works, closed earlier this year. Her new vent sure called vintage works. Welcome to the show. CHRISTIANSEN: Thank you. CAVANAUGH: A book signs at a farm stand is a little bit unusual. What kind of an event are you hoping to create here? CHRISTIANSEN: Well, I'm trying to bring back the feeling that we always had at the book store when we had an event with an there are. And especially some of the chefs we have had over the years like Julia child and Alice waters and Jacque Pepin and many others. I had a long standing relationship with the chino farm. They were only a mile from the book store. And I consider them family. And they were always so supportive and instrumental in helping me get these chefs due to their influence and deep relationships with many of them over the years. So we were reminiscing, Tom Chino and Nina his wife, about how could we do that in this new world, in the 0s where there's no independent book stores nearby. And those relationships would be strung apart, going somewhere far afield. And we just wanted to experience that again and decided that it would be wonderful to have cookbook chefs, there ares come to the stand. I would sell the books am I have the knowledge and experience in that area. And they have such direct relationships with, like, Nancy Silverton, who is our first guest. CAVANAUGH: Milane, many people were saddened to see the store that you owned for so many year, the book work, close. Is this the sign of the times for independent book sellers? CHRISTIANSEN: Well, I actually owned it for 30 years and did sell it in 2006 to Lisa Stefanacci, and I think after she purchased it, there were always terrible issues that a book seller had to confront all over the -- the years I had the store. But then we had the economic turndown that was almost like a depression, and I think that really has hurt independent book stores, even the most loyal customers. I was still involved with it, and -- CAVANAUGH: Basically is the sign of the times with the Internet and the recession we've recently gone through. Let's turn to vintage works which is your new venture, and the one we're talking about here with this wonderful recipe book, this wonderful Cooke book, the Mozza cook book, why did you choose this book for your first event? CHRISTIANSEN: Well, Nancy has a long relationship with the chinos. Her book was just released. Carolyn carrino, who is the writer on the book is from San Diego, and native here, and has been involved, worked at the chippo farm. And when we were talking about this, it was a great opportunity toing bring Nancy down. And she was very excited about it. And about also bringing a chef. And it just seemed to turn into what might be a great happening. So it was -- we do have to go when a chef has a new book. CAVANAUGH: I believe that we have chef Nancy Silverton on the line with us right now. And chef Silverton, welcome to the show. SILVERTON: Thank you for having me. CAVANAUGH: You're the there are of the Mozza cookbook. Let me ask you to tell us about chino farm for people who are unfamiliar with it and its market SILVERTON: I would -- boy, my relationship with the chino family and their farm and their fantastic vegetables dates back to 1985, 1986 when I started working with Wolfgang puck, and he took me down there. And at that time, heap used to drive down in his station wagon and pick up vegetables for his restaurant. And never had I experienced vegetables that were handled with such care and tasted the way that they did. And for a home cook, for a chef, when you get -- when you are able to use food like that, 90% of your job is done for you, you know? CAVANAUGH: Right. You just -- SILVERTON: A little salt and pepper, olive oil, and you're done. So I've known them for several years now. And I can't say enough about the family, about the farm stand, about the vegetables. You know? Nowhere else does anything taste like that. CAVANAUGH: Let me just clarify for our listeners because on the radio, it's a little hard. We are not mispronouncing Mozza. SILVERTON: Yes, you are. CAVANAUGH: We are talking about the Mozza cook book SILVERTON: Right. CAVANAUGH: And your restaurants in LA are called Mozza. What does it mean? SILVERTON: Okay. Before I go on, I want to let you know that we did just recently open a petseria in Orange County, in new port beach. So that's a little bit closer CAVANAUGH: You're coming down our way SILVERTON: And also in Singapore, we opened a pizzeria. But Mozza is short for Mozza rela. And at the osteria, which is the more terrible restaurant, there is a large marble bar in the center of the restaurant, and that's where you would find me most nights, assembling different mozzarella cheeses. Then next door, we have the pizzeria, and on the other side we have Mozza to go, which we deliver pizza, you can order it. We have a private dining room in there, and also a little cooking school. CAVANAUGH: That sounds fabulous. What is it that distinguishes your restaurant though and your recipes from -- there are so many Italian restaurants and so many Italian cook books. What would you say are those things that really separates it from the pack? SILVERTON: Think what separates it, I'd like to think, is the care that we take not only in sourcing our raw ingredients and our products such as our olive oils and vinegars that we use, but also the care that we take and the respect we have for the Italian tradition. CAVANAUGH: I see. Your book, you probably know, this was called freaking awesome by a reviewer from the LA weekly. What do you do to get a review like that? SILVERTON: Well, I think that -- first of all, almost all of the recipes from both of our restaurants are in here, which is great. And we didn't take any shortcuts in writing the recipes. They all are absolutely foolproof, which I'm so excited to say. And I love it when I get the feedback from people that use the book and cook out of it, and let me know how satisfied they are with their results. And this is a cook book that was written that was meant to cook from. It's not a cook book that's supposed to be a souvenir from visiting our restaurants or one to leave on the coffee table. It's one to cook from. So we took extra care in making sure the recipes were accurate, and the instructions were thorough. >>> Do you have a favorite recipe from the book? SILVERTON: You know -- I'll tell you, one of the standout recipes for me is actually one on the cover. Because it's so simple, so easy to prepare. It's a dish which can be eaten year round. It's our Mozza ca-Perezy, made with locally made barata cheese, which is is a cream filled mozzarella, with basil pesto, and cherry tomatoes that are on the vine that we roast slowly in the oven for about an hour.5 so that the juices are very concentrated, and the sweetness of the tomato really coming out. And it --ir think it really says Mozza. Because our food, which of it is more time consuming than others because the flavors are so layered. For the most part, the dishes are simply presented with just really terrific satisfying flavors CAVANAUGH: Lilane Christiansen, what does it mean for people to actually meet the chefs and the food writers who are behind cook books like that? What do you think that they get out of it? CHRISTIANSEN: Well, I think food Cook books are very concern. And I think that if you really enjoyed something that Nancy has prepared, you really are interested to know who did this. And many people feel they already know her through her books. And also this book is so readable, and it's wonderful the little sections she has between each chapter where she writes personally about the book. So you can't help but have a vision of who she is. And I think it's just thrilling to meet the author. And yourself, if you've read a really good book, you may become very interested in who it was that wrote it, personally. CAVANAUGH: Which leads me to ask you, will vintage works, your new endeavor, will you be featuring interactions with food writers only or will other authors be featured in future events? CHRISTIANSEN: Well, I will be doing this only at the chino farm, so it will be cook book, it will be about food CAVANAUGH: Chef Silverton, do you feel as if you are under a great deal of pressure to perform during this event on Sunday? I mean, you're actually going to be -- I don't know if you yourself or going to be cooking, but there is going to be cooking takes place, right? SILVERTON: Ythere is going to be food. We are -- and I, my pressure is how many books I can sign really quickly, and spelling people's names right. We're bringing down our mozzarella maker, and he is going to be making barata, and little quested small pieces of mozzarella. And we're going to bring some condiments that can be spooned on that go well with the cheese. And Chad who works at our Mozza to go, and teaches our cooking classes there is going to be doing a buster nut squash Kristine and bacon with bitter greens. And what is the the chef by the way at the Mozza empire, and he is a co-writer of the book and on the cover, he and I will be signing, and we'll had the the others do the food work. CAVANAUGH: And you actually have a rather famous chef partner at the Mozza restaurants don't you? SILVERTON: Have two famous partners. I have Mario Batali. Upon they're both out of New York. And Joe Bastianich, and together they run at least 15 restaurants on the east coast. So they have been terrific partners, and they've really certainly been instrumental with the success of the Mozza empire CAVANAUGH: Milane, can you give us the details about this chino farm event, when and where it's going to be? CHRISTIANSEN: It will be this coming Sunday, the 20th, and it will be from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. And little actually during the farm stand, when it is open. So people can come and see the vegetables and purchase those, if they wish. And then Nancy believe there signing. Because of time and the event restrictions, people can only have the book signed that they purchased at the event. But it will be very active with all of this going on. CAVANAUGH: And all you have to do is follow your nose to find out where it is. I want to thank you by guests so much. I've been speaking with Milane Christiansen of vintage works, and chef Nancy Silverton. Thank you both so much SILVERTON: Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to Sunday. CHRISTIANSEN: Thank you.

Now that we live in a new world where bookstores are disappearing, book lovers have fewer and fewer chances to meet the authors they love. Milane Christiansen, seasoned San Diego bookseller has joined with Chino Farms to provide onsite book signings during regular stand hours, out in the open air, and always including seasonal vegetables. This Sunday, Los Angeles restauranteur and cookbook author Nancy Silverton is bringing a chef to prepare winter squash crostini and other samples from the book. Pizzeria Mozza is co-owned by restauranteur royalty: Silverton, Mario Batalli and Joseph Bastianich (son of Lidia).