Steve Martorano, South Florida's larger-than-life Italian restaurateur from South Philly, is starring on a computer near you. Starting July 20, nine webisodes of his cooking show, Yo, Cuz: The Italian-American Cook, is on his website, cafemartorano.com.
Martorano teaches viewers to make foods that have helped him create a mini-empire of restaurants in South Florida and Las Vegas: homemade mozzarella, linguine with white clam sauce, a South Philly homestyle pizza, and the food that started it all for him -- a Philly cheese-steak sandwich.
The cook -- he never refers to himself as a chef -- includes bits on
the foods he's using and the significance and history they have in the
"These recipes are special to me,"
Martorano said. "These are humble, homestyle recipes, and I want to teach
people to make them, to share them with their family and friends."
He jokes in the Yo, Cuz promo, "I might not look like your regular cook that's on TV. Some people say I'm too big, some people say I got too many tattoos, some people say I look orange." But he promises viewers two things: "Simple food with flavor and believing in yourself."
The show was filmed at the chef's table in Martorano's Italian-American Kitchen at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Family stories, including starting a food business in the basement of his mother's home, pepper his chatter as he cooks. Count on music being a large part of the show; Martorano began as a club DJ.
He's no stranger to the cameras or celebs -- he's a buddy of Jimmy Kimmel's and appears on that late-night show, which also airs Martorano's "sanctioned" meatball-eating contest annually. He's flown to the Poconos to cook for the cast of The Sopranos, and he's landed a bit on The View, among others.
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Fame walks in his door, as well. Diners in South Florida regularly rub elbows with actors and boldfaced sports names at his restaurants -- Martorano was given an NBA championship ring by Shaquille O'Neal, a regular at Cafe Martorano when he's in town. Dan Marino, Zach Thomas, and others have tossed back a few meatballs here too.
The TV show follows his book, Yo Cuz! My Life, My Food, My Way: The Steve Martorano Story, detailing the story of his climb to fame -- with recipes. It too is available on his website.