Sam Saverance, owner of Bunna Café in Bushwick: My Dad is the MacGyver of family dining. We had some pretty impoverished moments in my upbringing, but he would do amazing things with very little to work with. A pack of egg noodles, some ground beef, peppers, onions, ketchup — it sounds simple enough but when you are 12 and have to eat reduced-fare school lunches it was like filet mignon. I learned from him that while ingredients are very important, it's what's in your heart that creates the masterpiece, and that life experience has a big influence in the things we eat and the way we approach dining in general.
Louis Coluccio, owner of A.L.C Italian Grocery in Bay Ridge: I remember spending a Sunday afternoon with my dad and grandfather in my grandmother’s basement after work. I think all of the moms had a shower or something to go to, and my dad and grandfather made a sauce with all beef meatballs…really simple, straightforward stuff. They were dressed really well because they had just from work, and I remember my grandfather had an apron over his suit. He was standing around the stove stirring the sauce, and I was a kid sipping a San Pellegrino and just watching. My father rolled the meatballs and we ate. It was one of those unplanned food memories that have just stayed with me. And the meatballs were great!
Elise Kornack, owner of Take Root in Carroll Gardens: My dad and I are all about smorgasbords, leftovers, antipasti’s, tasting menus, anything where you can try a number of different dishes versus just one entrée. So breakfast in our house was always quite the project. 'Who can choose between sweet and salty?' my dad would say. 'Who can possibly have a pancake and no eggs, or eggs and no pancake?' To my dad and I, the perfect breakfast was when the table was so crowded with eggs, bread, bacon, pastries, coffee, orange juice, potatoes, and syrup that there was hardly enough room for all five of us (my two brothers, my mom, dad and I) to even have space for a proper table setting. I looked forward to Saturday morning all week, every week.