Big Easy Magazine Interviews Local Chef and Cookbook Author Dan Pelosi

Photo source: Dan Pelosi

On Wednesday, November 8, The Elysian Bar at Hotel Peter and Paul will welcome cookbook author Dan “Grossy” Pelosi to New Orleans for an event celebrating the release of his first cookbook, Let’s Eat: 101 Recipes to Fill Your Heart and Home. Pelosi is a media personality who hosts The Secret Sauce for Food52 and appears regularly on Good Morning America. He splits his time between Brooklyn and Upstate New York.

In his debut cookbook, larger-than-life personality Dan Pelosi offers up a warm hug of home cooking, sharing both comfort food and connection with 101 of his nearest and dearest Italian American recipes. Some have been passed down through his family, and others have been cooked up from scratch—but all are made with love and accompanied by fun, meaningful stories to warm your heart while filling your belly.

In addition to the staple chapters like eggs, appetizers, pasta, meat, fish, and sweets. You’ll also find deep dives on Italian food recipes like Dough and Marinara, presented with hero recipes you can spin into all kinds of deliciousness. Also sprinkled throughout this recipe book are Grossy’s Guides to cooking, cleaning, organizing, and everything you need to become intuitive in your kitchen.

The evening will kick off at Hotel Peter & Paul’s Church at 6 p.m. with a conversation with Joy The Baker, followed by an intimate gathering for VIP ticket holders with Dan in The Elysian Bar beginning at 7:30 p.m., including food and drinks from Dan’s book. All tickets will include a signed copy of Dan’s bookThe Garden District Book Shop will provide books.

Tickets are available for purchase via Eventbrite HERE.

The event is sure to be a lot of fun, and to prepare for it, I asked Dan a few questions about how he discovered his love for food and how he put Let’s Eat together.

Big Easy Magazine: Let’s start by talking a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? How did you discover your passion for cooking? 

Dan: I grew up in Connecticut, born into an Italian-American family that was always cooking, eating, and grocery shopping. I spent all of my childhood in kitchens with family members, watching them cook, helping them cook, and, of course, tasting everything along the way. This is where my passion for cooking started and where it still lies: in home kitchens. 

BEM: Family means a lot to you- was cooking a family event when you were growing up? 

Dan: It was THE event. We are the kind of family who talks about what’s for lunch at breakfast and what’s for dinner at lunch. It’s how we communicate, congregate, and ultimately show love.  

BEM: What went into building your cookbook? How did you decide what recipes to include? 

Dan: I wanted the book to capture the recipes I grew up eating and the memories I have eating them, so I spent a lot of time on the phone with family members, talking through oral versions of their recipes, taking notes, and then working on recipes with actual amounts and instructions. Beyond that, I wanted to reflect on the food I had been cooking and eating since I left my family and moved to multiple cities across the country. So much of that food is in this book as well. It all feels like an autobiography of my life so far, told through recipes and the stories behind them. 

BEM: Are there any recipes in the book that you would consider your favorite? 

Dan: At the heart of the book, there 2 are chapters: 1 on pizza dough and one on marinara. These dough and marinara recipes are used throughout each chapter, allowing you to use them in multiple ways. This kind of cooking and eating is central to how I grew up and ate food. These recipes got us through so many gatherings, allowing us to take beloved recipe heroes and make endless different meals out of them. 

What has been your favorite thing about your book tour so far? 

Dan: By far, it’s the people. This is all happening because I was able to share so much of my life during the pandemic with so many amazing people. We connected over food, stories, and life. And we got through the pandemic together. I will just say there have been a lot of happy tears shed on the road. It’s really beautiful. 

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