I have always had a passion for food, friends and my family. As a kid, growing up in our family, family dinners and amazing food were always a huge part of our lives. Whether it was formal or informal, sitting at a table or gathering in the kitchen, eating over the sink while singing Sinatra, we were always together. Along the way, life happened, divorce happens, and things got turned upside down and our family as we knew it had changed. The family dinners we always knew did as well. My sister and I were 10 and 12 when our parents divorced and our lives changed. Prior to the divorce, we always had family dinners and it was a chance to connect each day, laugh and just be together. Then after the divorce, the family dinners became something we would avoid; they were different, unfamiliar, sometimes stressful and challenging at times. As a kid, it was certainly hard. For years we struggled and tried to work through these changes. We looked away from each other, rather than towards one another. A few years later, when I was 23 years old and after some tough times, my mom asked “what do you want for your birthday this year?” I replied with “everyone to the table for my birthday, to have dinner, together.” I meant everyone; mom, dad, step dad, step mom, sis and I. And so it was.
That first dinner was tough, we were all a little uncomfortable and quite honestly, didn’t exactly know how to act. BUT the most important thing was that everyone showed up. They showed up for me, because they love me, because it was my birthday wish, but ultimately they showed up for family. We took our first “new family” photo that night, December 13th 2003, awkwardly huddled together just inside the entrance of the restaurant, but, together none the less. This is a moment in time, forever embedded in my memory and my heart.
Each year the tradition continued, gathering together, around the table to celebrate my birthday. Each dinner got a little easier. And with each passing year, each month and each day, it felt more comfortable. More conversations started happening, more understanding, more healing. More dinners.
Without question our dinners were and still are the difference, they’ve made our family whole again. Today we have dinner together all the time. They are different from when we were kids, but they are equally amazing. Now we share everyone’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and many other days for no other reason, but to be together, with family. It’s amazing how sitting down and sharing dinner with people can truly connect, reconnect and heal. I am certain my love for family and food is one of the biggest reasons I became an Executive Chef. Together, with my talented sister Missy, who is our package designer and our storyteller, and our amazing family who always supported me, we created Cortazzo Foods. Thank you Mom, Dad, Tim, Susan and Sis for coming together that first night in 2003...it was the start of something amazing! I love you!
Our Mission… to bring people together with food. We believe it all starts at the family table. Help us create more connections, more healing and more meals. Join us in our mission and lets get everyone to the table.
----- Scott Martino