In Italian, “zia” typically just precedes the aunt’s first name but Zia Gianna was simply “Zia.” She was the aunt, the person, the glue in the family. She was the primary cook of the household, which, as most Italians know, means she was also the most important person in the home! She cooked for everyone, all the time, and even hosted friends and families of family members when said family members weren’t there. Zia was the light around which all things revolved, and she used her food to maintain that sense of community.
Nino and Zia Gianna were particularly close; they spoke daily, watched cooking shows together, then made the featured recipes after, and prepared favorite dishes for Nino's friends (a pleasure Zia Gianna continued even after Nino moved to the states). Today, much of what Nino does, and who he is is based on what Zia taught him during their long Sunday's in the kitchen together, following Zia Gianna's method of cooking without measurements ("just look and you'll know," she would say). As those who know her will attest, Zia had an innate ability to create community, comfort and love through food, and it is that community, that sense of warmth and nourishing others that Nino hopes to bring to his caffè Zia Gianna, a true tribute to The Zia.
About Zia Gianna
Zia Gianna, Zia Gianna.
It’s difficult to characterize a person as big – not in size, but in personality, in love, in joyfulness – as someone like Zia Gianna, in a space as small as a typical “About Me” page provides, but the first thing to know is that she was