“One day, it finally struck me what was so odd about this kitchen: It had no walk-in refrigerators to store food, no food processors to prepare mayonnaise, no industrial mixers to make bread or pasta. Other than the basic equipment I described, it was ‘unplugged.’ It was here that I learned how extremely gratifying and sensual it is to cook by hand. You are guided by all of your senses, rather than by machines, and the food you make maintains its integrity and flavor. It grounds you in the task.”—Jody Williams

An acclaimed New York City chef recalls several years she spent learning how to cook—and how to live—in a Northern Italian town.


Jody Williams is the chef and owner of Buvette in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Along with her wife, Rita Sodi, she is the chef and owner of the restaurants Via Carota and The Commerce Inn in the same neighborhood. Williams opened a second location of Buvette in the South Pigalle neighborhood of Paris in 2013, followed by a third, Buvette Tokyo, in 2018. She is the author of Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food (2014). She was the recipient, with Sodi, of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York City in 2019.