‘My Family and Other Italians’ traces the remarkable progress of the Dammone family, from humble beginnings in southern Italy to success in their new home in England.
It’s a story of singing chefs, recipes for pizza so secret that they were made in locked rooms, romance and smoke-filled illegal gambling dens. The book tells of epic continental journeys in a battered Ford Cortina that once survived three collisions in one evening, a close shave with the Italian army, but above all, a passion for good food.
It is Italian food that takes pride of place in the book, which features in the shape of more than 20 classic recipes that have proved enduringly popular with diners at the restaurant.
But this is no ordinary cookbook. Gip abandons convention by largely dispensing with traditional recipe formats. Instead, he strives to help readers develop a ‘feel’ for each dish, underlining his belief that cooking should be instinctive rather than prescriptive.
There’s advice about basics such as choosing the right pasta as well as the best way to cook it, through to guidance on making the dessert that won the day when John and Gip triumphed on Gordon Ramsay’s The F-word after topping 600 other entrants. The rise to television fame was a fitting tribute to the brothers’ determination to succeed, which saw them progress from a transport café in Leeds through to acclaim and a regular place in the Good Food Guide.
• My family and other Italians is published by RMC Books. ISBN 978-1-907998-19-5. Available to buy from Salvo’s Restaurant and Salumeria, Otley Road, Leeds at £10.oo or on www.amazon.co.uk