Most people wouldn’t argue that I know my way around a kitchen. What many don’t know, though, is that I know my way around a garden, too. I learned how to garden—and subsequently cook—from my grandmother. Nonna Rosa, who lived in Italy, grew much of the food that was brought into our kitchen. It was during this time in my childhood that I came to a realization: To get the best ingredients, sometimes you had to plant them. There is nothing better than knowing an essential part of a recipe was grown by you and freshly picked by you. Years later, when I bought a home and started my own family in Queens, New York, I knew a garden was something that I couldn’t be without. For over 30 years now, I—along with my mother, Erminia—have started scores of veggies from seed and planted them in my chef’s garden. Aside from…
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