The Return of the Family Dinner - Culinary Entrepreneur, Daniel Mancini Talks Meatballs & Memories with Martha

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Daniel Mancini is on a mission: to bring people back around the kitchen table, every night, for dinner and to revive a family tradition, beginning with his grandmother's famous meatball recipe. As the grandson of Italian immigrants, Mancini has developed a way to package his special, 'scented memories' and to share them with people throughout the country. His product, Mama Mancini's Meatballs and Sunday Sauce, is becoming a family favorite with a significant following of loyal customers and fans, and he is delighted by the response.

There is something unforgettable about simple, delicious, homemade food, and that is certainly the case with my grandmother's cooking

Daniel Mancini has been cooking his Italian family's old-world recipes since he was a teenager. He learned the recipes directly from an expert - his grandmother, Anna Mancini. Little did he know that the same simple and delicious dinners that she prepared every Sunday evening would spark an entrepreneurial dream, later in life, and inspire him to share the recipes and the traditions with people who appreciate delicious, comfort food, including Martha Stewart.

"There is something unforgettable about simple, delicious, homemade food, and that is certainly the case with my grandmother's cooking," says Daniel Mancini. "Whenever I cook her recipes for friends and family, I am always reminded of the 'scented memories' that I have from my childhood. We all have them, and I wanted to share mine with people who love good food and who want to bring their family together with a great dinner, but who don't have the time to cook. Our product is an entire meal. Each package contains six large meatballs and six portions of sauce. Just cook a box of pasta and dinner is ready in less than a half hour."

His grandmother, Anna Mancini emigrated to the U.S. from Bari, Italy, in 1921. One of her best recipes was her classic Italian meatballs with Sunday sauce. Growing up, Mancini watched his grandmother make the sauce and form the meatballs using the perfect balance of spices, garlic, parsley, olive oil and tomatoes, while she incorporated lots of love, patience and time into her cooking technique. This is the recipe that he decided to produce and market. Armed with little more than a recipe and a dream, Mancini left a successful career in the fashion industry to pursue his passion. In June of 2008, he successfully debuted his product, Mama Mancini's Meatballs and Sunday Sauce, at The Fancy Food Show in New York City, to the delight of the crowds.

"To satisfy the demand for a higher volume of production, I wanted to insure that we could successfully replicate the recipe, using not only the same quality ingredients but also the same old world techniques that my grandmother used in her kitchen. There is no substitute for time and patience when it comes to a delicious dish," explains Daniel Mancini. "I am fortunate to have found a great corporate partner in Carl Wolf and Appetizers-To-Go, Inc., (a New Jersey based specialty food manufacturer) to produce my grandmother's meatballs."

Persistence has paid off for Mancini and people are beginning to notice. Not only is Mama Mancini's Meatballs and Sunday Sauce a top selling frozen entrée at New York and New Jersey retailers like Eden Gourmet and Garden of Eden, but industry experts are drawn to the concept behind the delicious product; bringing back the traditional, family dinner.

"One of my proudest moments was being able to share my grandmother's recipe and her story with Martha Stewart," says Mancini. On April 21, Martha Stewart featured Daniel Mancini and Mama Mancini's Meatballs in the culinary segment on her program, The Martha Stewart Show, on NBC. While stirring tomato sauce and mixing fresh ingredients together in front of a live, studio audience, Mancini described his mission to Martha. "There is no doubt in my mind that my grandmother would be delighted to know that so many people are enjoying the simplicity of a home cooked Italian meal made with love and lots of flavor. A process that took my grandmother more than three hours to prepare now takes our customers less than twenty minutes to prepare at home. I am so proud to share her recipe with my fellow New Yorkers as well as with food lovers nationwide."

Mama Mancini's Meatballs and Sunday Sauce are sold at retailers including Gourmet Garage, Garden of Eden, Eden Gourmet, Kings Supermarkets and Shop Rite Supermarkets as well as in the Neiman Marcus Catalog and the Figis Catalog. To purchase direct, please log onto http://www.mamamancinis.com .

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Kristyn Zylka
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