Pino Luongo’s love of food began in his mother’s kitchen in Florence. As a teenager, he developed culinary skills in the summers working at his uncle’s restaurant in the Tuscan seaport town of Porto Santo Stefano. Pino followed his true passion as a chef and restaurateur when he moved to New York City from Florence in 1980.
In 1983, Pino opened Il Cantinori, an instant hit in New York City’s East Village. He proceeded to garner a loyal following among foodies, celebrities, and locals in New York, the Hamptons, and Chicago with Sapore di Mare, Le Madri, and Coco Pazzo. With each additional restaurant, 16 in total, he transferred the essence of his homeland — the flavors, the landscape, the history and the culture of Tuscany to America.
Pino is also a best-selling author and memoirist, weaving together his love for Tuscan cooking with romantic tales of his youth in Tuscany and life in the restaurant business. His books include A Tuscan in the Kitchen, Fish Talking, Simply Tuscan, and La Mia Cucina Toscana.
In the forward for Pino's memoir, Dirty Dishes, Anthony Bourdain writes: “His was the first restaurant to show me, for instance, what a properly sauced pasta could be — how important the pasta itself was. He turned everything I thought I knew about Italian food — all the conventional wisdom of the time — on its head and woke me up to an entire world of food and culture.”
In 1997, Pino expanded his vision with Tuscan Square, a 10,000 square foot marketplace for all things Tuscan in Rockefeller Center. It encompassed the best of America and Italy, housing a chic restaurant and bar upstairs and downstairs, an espresso bar, bakery and marketplace with prepared foods. Said Pino: “I want my guests to feel like they’ve been transported to Tuscany for a few hours when they visit my restaurants, and with Tuscan Square, they can bring a bit of Tuscany into their own homes.”
It’s this vision for a home for all things Pino loves about Tuscany, that we’ve brought into a home online with Simply Tuscan. We hope you feel transported, and that you bring a little bit of Pino’s passion for Tuscany into your life every day.