As Marisa Iocco prepared her first Bolognese in a professional kitchen—a little too perfunctorily for the elder-statesman chef de cuisine nearby—he impulsively slapped her hand. “Cooking is not done by rote. Cooking is like music. Ingredients must sing.” From that moment, Iocco opened her ears and heart and started listening more closely…understanding that measures matter in both music and food. A chef was born. That was one of many experiences that shaped Iocco into one of this country’s most well known (and rare) native Italian female executive chefs. Every Menu Is A Love Story (Ecco Perché Amore) is a recipe-enhanced memoir that begins in a small town in Italy’s Abruzzo region where food soothed her father’s absence and her mother’s death, and crosses an ocean to where Iocco was freed to pursue (and achieve) national success. With a fine arts education, her mamma’s food instincts and a few American phrases, Iocco landed in Boston in 1988 as the city began acquiring a palate. There, she faced and overcame the “old boys” bastion of professional kitchens—opening four restaurants, consulting for many more—by serving the regional Italian cooking of her youth and by elevating traditional (but tired) Italian-American dishes. Equal parts memoir, cookbook and Boston ode, Every Menu Is A Love Story chapters include recipes reflecting the imprint of Iocco’s Italian and Italian-American dishes on her life. Exulting in every word, bite and note, to Iocco, every menu commands emotional commitment. Every menu is a love story. Ecco perché amore.