Caggiano, Biba 1937(?)-
Caggiano, Biba 1937(?)-
Born c. 1937, in Bologna, Italy; came to the United States, 1969; married; husband's name Vincent; children: two daughters.
Home—Sacramento, CA. Office—Biba Restaurant, 2801 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95816.
Restaurateur, chef, television host, and writer. Biba Restaurant, founder, owner, and chef, 1986—; Host of internationally syndicated cooking show Biba's Italian Kitchen, TLC and Discovery Channel; also head of Strength for Living food educational program for cancer survivors. Worked at Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and taught cooking classes.
Award of Excellence, Wine Spectator, 1998, for Biba Restaurant; Distinguished Restaurant of North America (DiRoNa) award recipient four times, for Biba Restaurant; Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence, 1998; Northern California Chef of the Year, Governor of California and the California Travel Industry, 1999.
Northern Italian Cooking, HP Books (Tucson, AZ), 1981.
Modern Italian Cooking, illustrated by Melanie Parks, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.
Trattoria Cooking, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1992.
Leo Buscaglia's Love Cookbook, photography by C. Steven Short with Susan Mantle, SLACK Incorporated (Thorofare, NJ), 1994.
From Biba's Italian Kitchen, Hearst Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Italy Al Dente: Pasta, Risotto, Gnocchi, Polenta, Soup, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
Biba's Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Biba's Northern Italian Cooking, HP Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Biba's Italy: Favorite Recipes from the Splendid Cities, Artisan (New York, NY), 2006.
A native of Italy, Biba Caggiano went from a career in banking to the restaurant business following her family's move to Sacramento, California, in 1969. After teaching classes on preparing authentic Italian food, Caggiano began writing cookbooks. She opened her own Sacramento restaurant, Biba Restaurant, in 1986. As expected, Caggiano's cookbooks focus solely on Italian cooking. For example, in Trattoria Cooking, the author features family-style recipes for antipasti, soups, pasta, gnocchi, risotto, and more. "Caggiano sets a conversationally authoritative tone from the start, engaging the reader and aspiring master of trattoria cuisine with no-frills prose and a familiar, friendly manner," wrote Jonathan Van Matre on the Bookslut Web site. "The writing itself embodies the trattoria spirit: amply portioned, confident but unpretentious, and suffused with a mild merriment that embodies the joy of good food."
In Italy Al Dente: Pasta, Risotto, Gnocchi, Polenta, Soup, Caggiano focuses on soups and starch-based recipes such as pastas and risottos. Writing on the BookLoons Web site, Mary Ann Smyth noted that the cookbook "abounds with nuggets of information about the dishes or their ingredients." A Library Journal contributor wrote that the author writes "with her usual knowledgeable enthusiasm."
Biba's Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna provides a wide range of Italian recipes found in northern Italy, from simple stuffed pasta to risotto with either a meat- or fish-based broth. Caggiano also includes numerous sidebars on ingredients and cooking techniques, as well as a list of the best restaurants within Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. "These authentic recipes demonstrate why Italian food remains one of the world's most irresistible cuisines," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Other reviewers also praised the book. Mark Knoblauch, writing in Booklist, noted the author's "clarity of approach" and commented that this approach makes it "so that even beginners find recipes easy to follow." In the Library Journal, Devon Thomas noted that the book addresses the needs of both novice and accomplished chefs and wrote that "readers will enjoy the recipe head notes and supplemental text."
In her 2006 cookbook, Biba's Italy: Favorite Recipes from the Splendid Cities, Caggiano presents regional recipes from five Italian cities: Rome, Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Venice. Full menus are included, from appetizers to main courses to desserts. Recipes include Ricotta-Parmigiano Spinach Dumplings, Milanese Roasted Capon, and la Vignarola, a stew made with beans, peas, and artichokes. The author also provides information on eating traditions within each of the cities highlighted, as noted by Dana Oland, who wrote in the Idaho Statesman that the author gives "hints on how to buy quality olive oils and vinegars, suggestions on wines for each region and tips on where to eat." Overall, the cookbook received approval from reviewers. "Though simple, many of the recipes are time-intensive, but are worth the effort," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Mark Knoblauch wrote in Booklist that the author "adds to her already impressive list of outstanding cookbooks with this urban-based volume."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 1997, review of Italy Al Dente: Pasta, Risotto, Gnocchi, Polenta, Soup, p. 675; April 15, 2001, Mark Knoblauch, review of Biba's Taste of Italy: Recipes from the Homes, Trattorie, and Restaurants of Emilia-Romagna, p. 1522; September 1, 2006, Mark Knoblauch, review of Biba's Italy: Favorite Recipes from the Splendid Cities, p. 33.
Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2001, Kristin Eddy, review of Biba's Taste of Italy.
Idaho Statesman, September 20, 2006, Dana Oland, review of Biba's Italy.
Library Journal, December 1, 1997, review of Italy Al Dente, p. 143; March 1, 2001, Devon Thomas, review of Biba's Taste of Italy, p. 122; August 1, 2006, Judith Sutton, review of Biba's Italy, p. 116.
PR Newswire, November 14, 2005, "Sacramento's Own World-Renowned Chef and Cancer Survivor Biba Caggiano Shares Ingredients for Helping Cancer Patients Find Strength for Living."
Publishers Weekly, March 30, 1998, review of Italy Al Dente, p. 75; February 12, 2001, review of Biba's Taste of Italy, p. 206; December 24, 2001, review of Biba's Northern Italian Cooking, p. 61; July 24, 2006, review of Biba's Italy, p. 54.
Sacramento Bee, February 15, 2006, Mike Dunne, "Setting a New Course: Nine Key Players Have Reshaped the Local Dining Scene"; May 3, 2006, "Appetizers: A Shuffling of Chefs at Biba."
Sacramento Business Journal, March 30, 2001, "Biba Goes Be-Bopping," p. 2; June 22, 2001, Danielle Starkey, "Upscale Restaurateur Keeps Her Plate Full," p. S-9.
Biba Restaurant Web site,http://www.biba-restaurant.com/ (March 14, 2007).
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (May 14, 2007), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Italy al Dente.
Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (May 14, 2007), Jonathan Van Matre, review of Trattoria Cooking.
California Wine and Food,http://www.californiawineandfood.com/ (March 14, 2007), "Chef and Cancer Survivor Biba Caggiano Shares Ingredients for Helping Cancer Patients Find Strength for Living."
Global Gourmet,http://www.globalgourmet.com/ (May 14, 2007), review of Biba's Italy.
Italian Cooking and Living,http://www.italiancookingandliving.com/ (March 14, 2007), brief profile of author.