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on January 5, 2009
Having enjoyed many of Pino Luongo's restaurants -- Il Cantonori, Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Tuscan Square, and Centolire -- it's a delight to meet the man behind the menus. The story is one of success and failure and more success. It seems particularly timely for New Yorkers -- that someone would start with nothing (Luongo immigrated to NY from Italy without so much as a word of English) build an empire (16 restaurants at one point!) and come to realize that the simple things are life's greatest rewards. Whether you love to cook, eat or simply read --- you will enjoy this story.
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on December 23, 2009
I really didn't know this book was out until I heard that one of the Top Chef contestants had named his book this as well and that friends of Pino were trying to get the Top Chef contestant to change his book title. I finally got around to buying this book for a variety of reasons. First, I'd read about Pino in Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential years ago. He sounded like someone who a book would be a good idea for. Second, to find out if this could be the mysterious Bigfoot (and he isn't). Third, the foreword by Bourdain which was very impressive coming from him.

I was not disappointed in this book at all. I was very impressed by the writing and the story about Pino, his successes and his failure in the end by over reaching when he shouldn't have. He is what he says he is, brutally honest. He doesn't hide his frustrations or his failures which makes this a very good read.

For anyone wanting to know more about the restaurant business in general and a success story turning into semi-failure (He didn't lose it all), this is a really good book. It makes me want to spend a week or two in Pino's kitchen so I can really learn how to cook pasta. If only he did seminar's or small classes on a regular basis, I'd be there in a heartbeat!!!
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on February 11, 2009
I saw Pino, with whom I was totally unfamiliar, in an interview on TV, doing a little cooking and talking about his new book, "Dirty Dishes". I bought the book based on that short talk, and was not disappointed. It is a fascinating look into the business of being a successful restaurateur, as well as a culinary philosophy. I found it difficult to put down.
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on February 11, 2009
A quick and informative view into the New York City restaurant scene.
Pino story is funny, heartwarming and controversial. His voice is passionate about his craft and the politics that surrounds it. He posses many questions that some Journalists have chosen to ignore over the years. Tim Zagat's phone book being one that Pino outs as a publication that is less of the people and more of the politics. His opinions are shape and as you read on you realize it's not that he does not care. You learn that his Italian upbringing is what prevents him from kissing up to frauds. As a dinner I now know why my favorite little place around the corner never gets a big mention in Zagat's but last night it was full.
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on April 19, 2013
The most famous chef you never heard of, but thanks to Anthony Boudain's RESTAURANT CONFIDENTIAL I was eager to get my hands on the biography of this Tuscan imigrant who started put as a bus boy and became one the most celebrated chefs and restaurateur in New York City. Ambitious, creative, a person that above all else placces the love of cooking at the apex. But like another mythical protagonist, flew too close to the sun. I have also reviewed and recommended A TUSCAN IN THE KITCHEN.
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on January 9, 2013
I read Kitchen Confidential and enjoyed its insider's look at the restaurant business. That book refers to Pino Luongo so I decided to read this. It's OK but not nearly as interesting read as Kitchen Confidential. The book is definitely focus on Pino and his large ego with not many new insights to the business of being a chef. He includes some food tips about Preparing Italian dishes, but I'd probably learned more by looking at his cookbooks. Not a bad read, but not a great one either.
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on February 8, 2009
For those that like food and restaurants, and want to know what it takes to open and run truly great restaurants then this is a must. Pino knows what it takes to deliver great hospitality to the most demanding customers, and brings it all together in this great book.
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on April 16, 2009
Pino walks through his life and shares how he came to America unable to speak English and within ten years became a successful entrepreneur. I admire him immensely. One of my favorite parts in the book is where Pino describes how he was working at an apparel store--a job that he hated immensely--and then one day, he left for lunch and never went back. I read that part several times. His writing is witty and very amusing.
Through a friend, I had the pleasure of meeting Pino in late '97. For two years my friend and I had the pleasure of dining frequently at Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Coco Opera, Coco Marina and Tuscan Square. I also dined several times at Sapore Di Mare in the Hamptons. Reading Dirty Dishes brought back all those great memories. I enjoyed the book so much that I started reading it again. My next visit will be to Centolire. I hope that Pino is there when I stop by.
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on February 17, 2009
I have to say, I have worked for Pino for almost 11 years at Coco Pazzo in Chicago and with out his passion for Italian food, and culture, there would be a lot of Italian Chefs in America lost in the kitchen (including myself). From his persistence for the truth of the Italian Kitchen, in his books, his teachings and his restaurants, he has inspired me to open my own Italian restaurant in Chicago. In this book, his true passion bleeds from his heart into print. This is a must have book, true to himself and to the reader.
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on November 13, 2013
I like Pino just a little more after reading this book. Just a little. The book gave some nice behind the scenes info on some of the hottest places to eat.
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