Nancy Silverton likes to talk in terms of these days—meaning now, as opposed to thosedays, back then. She does this matter-of-factly, without dwelling. In the late seventies, when she was coming of age in California’s historic restaurant kitchens, cooking as a profession wasn’t glamorous or glorified. The template for her career didn’t yet exist. And the idea of a restaurant chef—let alone a woman—publishing a ninth cookbook, as Silverton has just done with Mozza at Home, and filming a television episode, as she’s just done with Chef’s Table, was unthinkable.
Silverton starts these days with coffee and the newspaper, followed by an hour-long walk around her neighborhood, holding weights. She’s at work by eleven, on the corner of Highland and Melrose that houses Pizzeria Mozza (@pizzeriamozza), Osteria Mozza (@osteriamozza), Mozza2Go, and Chi Spacca: a pizzeria, upscale Italian restaurant, takeout shop and retail storefront, and meat-centric restaurant, respectively. “I catch up, tell them my new ideas, recap things I noticed, and kind of just float,” she says; with the exception of Thursday nights and Sundays, her time off, she’ll work the mozzarella bar till late at night.
From “The Queen of Los Angeles” by Rachel Khong for Lucky Peach; Photo by Nathanael Turner (@turnernathanael)