Chefs on How Marcella Hazan Inspired Them

By Kelly Dobkin  |  October 2, 2013

The sad passing of cookbook author and "Godmother of Italian Cooking" Marcella Hazan at 89 earlier this week has been met with an outpouring of emotion from folks in all parts of the food industry. Hazan encouraged American cooks to steer away from the Italian-American techniques of the 50s and 60s (mushy pasta, canned sauce) and enlightened the food world with her six cookbooks over the course of several decades. In the same way Julia Child brought French cuisine to the American masses, Hazan was that pioneer for Italian cuisine.

Below, we pay tribute to Hazan with quotes from chefs, some gathered on our own and some collected via Twitter, and all on how Hazan inspired them: 

Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia: "Very sad, we've lost a true inspiration." [via Twitter]

Doug Psaltis, RPM Italian, Chicago:  “Reading her books taught me how incredible milk-braised pork can be... It is a meal that I cook for my family and friends every winter.”

Geoffrey Zakarian, The Lambs Club, Iron Chef: "Her attitude and confidence about her cooking really resonated with me."

April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig, NYC: "Very very sad to hear the passing of Marcella Hazan. My thoughts are with her family. You touched my soul. RIP darling Marcella. [Via Twitter]

Allison Robicelli, Baker, NYC: "RIP, and God bless you, Marcella Hazan. Your books bridged a gap between my mother & I during very bad times. You continue to inspire me." [Via Twitter]

John DeLoach, Lavo, NYC: “I believe what I got, and what most chefs must draw from Marcella Hazan’s philosophy about food, is that simple is best. In her books she always believed that seasonal cooking and authenticity was most important. What she thought and taught over 30 years ago is realized now more than ever by food purists and culinary professionals, and has trickled down to home cooks and foodies. God bless her.”

Sean Kinoshita, TAO Asian Bistro, Las Vegas: “Although I don’t cook a lot of Italian, she has influenced me by some of her processes. As chefs we look to see what we can learn from each other. There are attributes that successful chefs use that make them great and we add these to our repertoire. For me, I learned cooking with the seasons. When I do specials or menus I always look what protein or seafood is in season. This is always accompanied by what produce is in season. I also like her simplicity in cooking.  She rarely complicates dishes and her flavors clearly shine through.”