Nonnas of the World

"Just like grandma used to make" is much more than a clever advertising scheme, it's literally what's happening at Staten Island's Enoteca Maria, where the kitchen's staffed not by professionally trained chefs, but by a fleet of "nonnas" from around the world. For about a decade, owner Jody Scaravella has opened his kitchens to grandmothers cooking the cuisines of their native countries. It started with just Italian grandmothers, after his own heritage, but has since expanded to include dozens of women from places like Argentina, Algeria, Syria, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Liberia, and Nigeria. (...)

There's the old adage about too many cooks, so do the nonnas get along? "Each one of these [Italian] grandmothers feels like they're the boss, because in their particular family unit, they're at the top of that pyramid. So when you put all of these grandmothers that are all at the top in a room together, they all feel like they're in charge and they're all wondering what that other person is doing there," Scaravella joked. "It can get dicey." (...)

"Usually at the end of the day, the people will applaud the nonnas that have cooked for them," Scaravella beamed. "They get standing ovations on a regular basis and it's really something nice." (Gothamist)

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