Cesare Casella's culinary career began at the age of thirteen in the kitchen of his family's restaurant, Il Vipore, just outside of Lucca in the hills of Tuscany.Â Â In 1979 he took over the kitchen, and in 1993 Il Vipore was awarded its first Michelin star. Diary of a Tuscan Chefis not only a book of quintessential--and ambrosial--Tuscan dishes, it is the charming and wittily told story of Casella's journey from that first foray into Il Vipore's kitchen to becoming executive chef at Pino Luongo's famed Coco Pazzo restaurant in New York City. Arranged as a series of seasonal menus, each one inspired by a colorful anecdote taken from Casella's life,Diary of a Tuscan Chefis dedicated to the two most basic tenets of Tuscan cooking: seasonality and flexibility.Â Â Creating the best, tastiest, most satisfying food from a few fresh, seasonally available ingredients is what Tuscan cooking is all about. Cesare Casella is a professional chef, but these are not "restaurant dishes." As he so aptly puts it, "As far as I know, no one has written a cookbook for the American public that presents Tuscan food as it is--good, simple, and natural.Â Â The Tuscan table should be as easy to set in New York as it is in Garfagnana, or in Rome, Georgia, for that matter." All of the 150 recipes inDiary of a Tuscan Chefcan be made at home with ingredients found in any local supermarket.Â Â In the end, it is Casella himself, a wonderful storyteller and a wonderful chef, who makes this book unique.Â Â With his words and the many photographs of him, his food, and his family, the reader will be transported into a world of delicious cooking and delightful company.