I am a self-taught cook who has had many influences. When I first started cooking, I was an inexperienced teenager and still living at home. In those days, I would cook the family meals with canned veggies and hamburger meat. In my early 20's, I worked in restaurants and started getting a taste for bigger and better things. I discovered shrimp and olive oil and feta cheese and all sorts of new and interesting food. Then Europe beckoned and I discovered tons of exciting cuisines. It seems that Italy was a big influence on me though. I have cooked in many Italian homes and kitchens with many excellent chefs and home cooks. Even though my techniques are Italian influenced, I call my homemade brand of cooking American. To me, starting a great dinner includes having knockout hors d'oeuvres ready for when guests arrive. And don't forget the drinks! It's such a good way to get people to open up to each other who may be strangers. I'll always start dinner with a big, tasty, seasonal salad with fresh, homemade dressing. The main course may consist of Roast Round of Beef or Stuffed Chicken Breasts or Ziti with Meatballs. There will be some local, seasonal vegetable dish to accompany the main course such as Potato Gratin with Bleu Cheese, Risotto with Parmesan or Tabouli with Cucumbers and Parsley. Have no worries, I'll never skimp on dessert. It could be anything from Chocolate Mousse to Fresh Berries with Cardamom Whipped Cream to a delicious Apple Tart. Everything I prepare are my recipes and are fresh and home cooked from scratch. I buy veggies and fruit from local farms and farmer's markets and oftentimes use ingredients from my own garden. All of the ingredients that I cook with are sustainably grown, humanely raised and free range. And delicious! I promise!