Hi!  I'm Jen and I live and cook in Toronto (a transplant from New England by way of Los Angeles).  Piccante Dolce is a chronicle of the food I cook for my husband (aka the boy), our family and friends, with a restaurant or event review thrown in for good measure.  I believe in the importance of "real" food, which to me is food that has gone through as little processing as possible. 

I love food.  From cooking my old favorites to developing recipes to driving hours to some fabulous hole in the wall, so much of everyday is devoted to something food related. I started this blog as a way to channel my obsession with food somewhere and to share my love of cooking with friends and family.   

I learned to love food at a young age. When I was young my parents would bring me into the Boston to go to the theatre or ballet and these trips always included dinner at a fine restaurant. I loved it and have as many good memories of the shows themselves as I do of the food and restaurants. We brunched at the Parker House, dined at Maison Robert and the Ritz and had steak & lobster at the Palm. From a very young age I knew what I liked at these restaurants and looked forward to our semi annual trips. This further cultivated my love of good food.

My first memories cooking are from helping my parents bake brownies or more accurately by being involved with anything that needed eggs. I LOVED cracking eggs and would do all I could to weasel my way into doing it. The first fancy kitchen thing I learned how to do was separate eggs.  My love of the kitchen grew from there and now I cook to care for those who are important to me, whether it’s making the boy's favorite dish (fried chicken AND mac & cheese), cupcakes for a friend’s birthday or dog biscuits for the dogs, I use cooking to show love.

I took my first real cooking class while studying in Florence, Italy my junior year in college.  It was in Italy that I learned to love red wine and eggplant.  It was also in Italy where I fully realized how important food was to me.  The highlight of my days would be the stops I'd make the Mercato Centrale to pick up some food for dinner.  Because Italy and Italian food and ingredients have been so important in shaping my culinary experience it only seemed right to use two of my favorite Italian words to title this blog.  Piccante for the heat and Dolce for the sweet that should be in every part of life, not just food.