Jeff D'Arcy, aka
Michael Incorvia, pictured cooking in his kitchen in Mission Viejo was a finalist in Maggiano's Little Italy Best Italian Chef contest. His recipe for duck and sausage lasagna came from his Sicilian uncle.
As Michael Incorvia (Jeff D'Arcy's middle name and Sicilian mother's maiden name) simmers fresh-made marinara sauce on his stove in Mission Viejo, he's transported back to his days with his large Sicilian family.
Uncle Eddy, a charming and gregarious rogue, took his lasagna very seriously.
Micheal entered a recipe he learned from Eddy – duck and sausage lasagna. He was a finalist in Magiannos Best Italian Chef contest, though his dish didn't win a spot
on the restaurant menu (yet).
The experience, however, made Michael realize that many who complimented his recipe were enticed not only by the dish, but also his family story.
As he was growing up in Long Beach, cooking was left to the men of
the family, especially on the holidays. As many as eight of his uncles would gather in the kitchen, elbowing for space to make their dishes. After Uncle Eddy served his lasagna each Christmas, the family would applaud, Michael said.
Michael and his
cousins would serve as "sous chefs," dicing, chopping and trying to learn the craft.
Eddy's lasagna wasnn't the typical American Italian dish of cottage cheese, pasta and red sauce. His lasagna contained duck, venison or goose.
earthy people," Michael said. "It's the game that grazes in the pastures of Sicily– the lamb, goats, geese."
Many people commented on Michael's Maggiano's web page that they had similar upbringings. Michael got the idea of gatheingr the stories
and recipes of other Italians for his website and his upcoming cookbook.
People have started sending him their family histories along with favorite recipes, he said.
"Another cookbook is just another cookbook," he said. "People enjoy a story."
Michael has traveled to Sicily and says it's the food is what truly connects him to his roots.
"I think food is the link that maintains your ethnic heritage," he said. "The language might get assimilated along with other cultural norms, but the food
To learn more or send Michael your story, visit www.uncleeddyslasagna.com.
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