I have a secret recipe. Recipe may not be the correct word, perhaps “magic” is more appropriate, but in any case, I glimpsed it from Giovanni.

When I was enjoying happy hour with a glass of red wine and appetizers with Libby, Giovanni called to tell her that he was coming home. I was about to leave but then was invited to stay for dinner. Giovanni would cook, Libby said. WOW, what a surprise that this Italian chef cooks dinner every night after coming home from running multiple restaurants in New York City!! How lucky I was to be there.

On each lamb chop, he very carefully sprinkled a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. Then came the moment of magic, the tender massage of each lamb chop with olive oil, as if coaxing them and encouraging them to bring out their best flavors. Finally, they were grilled in a pan. So impressive was the dish in its simplicity (for me, recipes with lamb always included herbs and other flavorings) and the seriousness with which it was prepared (as if he was loading on to it wishes). At the candle-lit table, he served the tasty dishes alongside a series of opinions on my culture. I found Giovanni an eloquent entertainer; it was an unforgettable night.

Since then I always grill steak and lamb with a coat of olive oil with a special wish. I have a newfound confidence in cooking. Whenever people compliment our grilled or barbecued meat I give them my secret recipe with the story of the dinner made by Giovanni that night.

Shared by Shoko S