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Coco Pazzo’s Al Dente Détente

Formerly feuding foodies in cookbook collaboration.

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When chef Mark Strausman parted ways with Italian restaurateur Pino Luongo in 1993 after five years working at Coco Pazzo in the city and Sapore di Mare in East Hampton, the knives came out. “Luongo thinks he owns you,” Strausman fumed at the time. “The bad part of Italians is that they can be very egotistical.” But by 2003, Strausman had closed his own restaurant, Campagna, and returned to Coco Pazzo. Now the two are getting along well enough to collaborate on a cookbook called Two Meatballs. Is all really molto bene between the pair? “When someone turns his back on a successful partnership, naturally there is anger,” says Luongo. How’s the book going so far? “His favorite dish is meatballs and spaghetti,” says Luongo. “That’s not even Italian.” Strausman gripes, “He wants thirteen chapters, and I won’t do that—it’s an unlucky number. He says it’s lucky in Italy. Well, we are not in Italy.”

Next: Tom Ford's 'Wal-Mart on the Hill'


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