An Italian household’s finest memories start with Nonna’s cooking. That’s what chef Cory Bahr was thinking when he opened Nonna — his second hometown restaurant in Monroe, Louisiana — as an ode to his grandmother’s cooking and the legacies of grandma recipes (and soul) everywhere. The mostly-Italian, family-style recipes in his restaurant are inspired by the skills he learned from his grandparents who raised him and guests get a further reminder of the restaurant’s muses with the whimsical, larger-than-life portraits of local grandmothers that hang in the entrance, called “The Blue-Haired Angels.”
“I was raised by my grandparents in an atmosphere where passion for food was a way of life,” chef Bahr told The Daily Meal. “Through my Nonna I inherited a confident creativity and that is reflected as a signature style on the Nonna menu.”
Bahr, the season 12 winner of Chopped, credits his grandparentst with his culinary success and teaching him the simplicity of Italian rustic cooking. The featured dishes are Italian with a classic Louisianan twist, like his 25-layer lasagna with bolo, mushrooms, ricotta, and collard greens; or the fried oyster carbonara with pancetta, parmesan, and bottarga (cured fish roe).
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.