Books and Films


I SEGRETI DELLA CUCINA ITALIANA (Secrets of Italian cooking)

It took a quarter of a century, but Antonello Colonna finally wrote his recipe book. He likes to provoke, but anyone who leafs through “I segreti della cucina italiana” will be surprised to see how this internationally famous chef felt the need, and perhaps even the duty, to transmit the know-how he inherited and then revolutionized. “The idea of reducing the story of the kitchen to weights and cooking times never convinced me. I said to myself: no great long explanations, no ingredients you can only find in Chile”, says the Chef.

The more than 120 recipes contained in the book, from “Che Bab” (secret pork wrap) to “qubi di coda alla vaccinara” (“oxtail3”), from “negativo di carbonara” (“carbonara inside out”) to “millefoglie alla crema pasticciera e cioccolato fondente” (millefeuille with custard and bitter chocolate) are not not just simply lists of ingredients and amounts. Rather they are a translation of the experience of this anti-conventional and anti-conformist figure.

Newton Compton Editori


Colonna’s first book, “An Anarchist in the Kitchen: from Labico to New York”, published in both Italian and English, was presented on 21 March 2005, at the magnificent Palazzo Ferrajoli in Rome. It’s not a recipe book or a manual for standing over the stove. It’s the chef’s account of the twenty years after he took over the family restaurant.

In its 123 pages and 13 chapters he tells his story with anecdotes, events, and encounters with the famous and not-so-famous persons who marked the story of the chef and the red door. Finally, at the end, he grants his hungry readers a small recipe section—but not his own recipes. Otherwise he could scarcely call himself an anarchist.

It’s a sort of appendix of dishes that the chef has loved since childhood. He calls them “my recipes: my mother’s dishes, my father secrets”, strictly from Rome and Lazio, from the panzanella (bread salad) di Ruggero, to the amatriciana, to the abbacchio allo scottadito (grilled baby lamb chops).

It’s a book of memories, recollections, and experiences lived.

Editore Gambero Rosso GRH

BALLA COI CUOCHI (Dance with the Cooks)

Balla coi cuochi is a recipe book but not a cookbook.

It doesn’t necessarily compel the reader to get up and run to the kitchen. As Antonello Colonna explains, it’s the score for a universal orchestra that everyone can read and interpret. Even more, everybody can choose which instrument to play. The reader just has to be willing to betray tradition, upending what was to modify, reinvent it, but never disown it.

Leafing through the pages, one notes that the recipes show a fusion, a gastronomic mix between the culinary tradition of Trentino, where the event that gives the book its name took place) and that of Lazio, home of the chef Antonello Colonna.

Editore Osiride

COCINAS DEL MUNDO (Cuisines of the World)

The Spanish editorial group Metropoli dedicated to the nineteenth volume of its series “Cocinas del Mundo” to Italy. It’s a good example of how Italian cooking is viewed and practised outside Italy.

After a first part entirely dedicated to such typical Italian dishes as lasagne alla bolognese, melanzane alla parmigiana, pizza margherita, and tiramisù, the last part of the book is devoted to the creative cooking of Antonello Colonna and Carlo Cracco.

Colonna’s dishes are those that best represent his gastronomic philosophy, made of ingredients that appear poor but are of superb quality—crocchetta di baccalà e farina di ceci fritta (croquette of salt cod and chickpea flour), spalla di capretto con mentuccia e pecorino (shoulder of kid with mint and pecorino), and involtini di peperoni acciughe e caciotta fresca (rolled peppers filled with anchovies and fresh cheese).

Editore Biblioteca Metropoli

PRANZO DI NATALE (Christmas Lunch)

BIM has released some of the greatest film classics reissued with additional special content. Antonello Colonna was chosen to provide the special content of this film. In 10 minutes he describes his gastronomic philosophy as presented at his Labico restaurant.

Pranzo di Natale, a French production (La Bûche) directed by Danièle Thompson, depicts all the hypocrisy, falsity, and unhealed wounds of Christmas.

Produttore Le Studio Canal plus, Les Film Alain Sarde