Capella, Anthony 1963(?)- (Tony Strong)

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Capella, Anthony 1963(?)- (Tony Strong)


Born c. 1963; married; children: three. Education: Attended Oxford University.


Home—Oxfordshire, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer. Former free-range pig farmer.


The Food of Love (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2004.

The Wedding Officer, Time Warner Books (London, England), 2006.

Also author of the unpublished novel Chemistry for Beginners.


Author's books have been optioned for film, including The Food of Love by DiNovi Pictures, The Wedding Officer, and the unpublished novel Chemistry for Beginners.


Anthony Capella's love of Italy and its cuisine led him to write a debut novel in which Italian food plays a starring role. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "sophisticated gourmets will realize right away that Capella's no poseur (he quotes Marcella Hazan, for starters)." The Food of Love is a modern take on Edmund Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. Bruno is a shy and homely chef who falls in love with Laura Patterson over a period of months as he helps a friend seduce her with fine food.

Laura, an American studying in Rome, decides that she is through with Italian men until a friend tells her to hold out for a chef, because they are good with their hands. Bruno's Vespa-riding friend, the waiter Tommaso, is a cad who lusts after the American college student with "honey-colored skin and freckles like orange-red flakes of chile." He convinces Bruno to cook the treats with which he will tempt Laura's substantial appetite. Bruno is more than up to the task; he is the chef at Templi, a restaurant so fine that it is necessary to make reservations three months in advance in order to dine there.

Bruno agrees to assist in the seduction by cooking a meal which Tommaso retrieves course by course for Laura. Food scenes turn into sex scenes, which turn into food and sex scenes. Laura is overcome by the feast and tells her friends of Tommaso's great skill in the kitchen. When a dinner party for six is arranged, Bruno lowers his dishes in a bucket from which Tommaso retrieves them. They include a dark chocolate tartufo that heightens the passions of the couples. By now, Bruno, who has never had a girlfriend, has fallen in love with Laura himself, and the remainder of the story reveals how he acts on his feelings.

Booklist contributor Mark Knoblauch commented that "foodies" will enjoy sections of The Food of Love in which Capella describes "quasi-military life in the tyrannically run kitchen and snooty dining room of a Michelin-starred eatery run by a ruthless chef." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the story "a nice romp through the back alleys of the Eternal City, all in a lighthearted tone more farce than tragedy," while New York Times Book Review contributor Liesl Schillinger dubbed The Food of Love, a "well-fashioned fable."

In his next book, The Wedding Officer, the author tells a darker tale that takes place in Italy during World War II. The story features James Gould, an English officer posted in Naples with the assignment of examining British soldiers' potential weddings to Italian women. Soon, however, James discovers that his primary role is to prevent English soldiers from marrying most of these women. The problem, as the British higher-ups and James see it, is that some of these women have fallen into prostitution in an effort to survive. Despite the unsavory premise, the author once again features food as a major part of his story. This time, a beautiful chef named Livia Pertini is recruited by the local fiancées, prostitutes, and black market practitioners, to soften up James because he is a stickler for the rules and is causing too much trouble. Despite many attempts, they find that they cannot bribe him with money, sex, or anything else. They hope that a full stomach and pleased palate may make him less insistent on following the British rules. Livia, however, initially balks at the proposal because she has little time for the Allies, who have caused serious problems for her. Nevertheless, she becomes the new chef for the Allied officers; she forgoes the standard meat-and-potatoes meals that the officers are used to and instead creates magnificent feasts made with whatever simple ingredients she can scavenge during war time. Eventually, she ends up falling in love with, and seducing, James with her food and her beauty. A Bibliofemme Web site contributor pointed out that, despite the novel's "sombre" tone, the author nevertheless provides "many wonderful descriptions of dishes like apricot dolce … and pomodori ripieni con formaggio caprino ed erba cipollina or tomatoes stuffed with goat's cheese and chives." In an interview on the Bibliofemme Web site, the author explained why food takes such an integral place in his novels. The author noted: "I suppose it's because they're both about passion, and food is one of the most sensual ways in which we experience pleasure. My books tend to be about people who are discovering the importance of sensual pleasures for the first time, so the enjoyment of food becomes a kind of metaphor for romantic self-discovery too."

In a review of The Wedding Officer in Booklist, Mark Knoblauch commented that the author's "vividly sensuous command of the arts of both food and romance will attract readers." Referring to the novel as "a sensory delight," Sheri Melnick went on to write in the Library Journal that the "original tale is an expertly crafted work of women's fiction."

Capella is also the author of an as-yet-unpublished novel titled Chemistry for Beginners, which has nevertheless been optioned for film. The story revolves around a neurobiologist who is trying to develop a Viagra-like drug for women. However, the nerdy scientist falls in love with one of his test subjects and soon finds that his intellect cannot lead him to where he wants to go.



Booklist, June 1, 2004, Mark Knoblauch, review of The Food of Love, p. 1699; April 1, 2007, Mark Knoblauch, review of The Wedding Officer, p. 23.

Book World, July 18, 2004, Mark Rotella, "Eat Your Heart Out," review of The Food of Love, p. 10.

Daily Variety, March 8, 2006, Adam Dawtrey, "Material Marries ‘Wedding,’" story on film option for author's book, p. 4.

Hollywood Reporter, April 26, 2005, Liza Foreman, "‘Food’ for Thought for Chelsom," p. 3.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of The Food of Love, p. 455; April 1, 2007, review of The Wedding Officer.

Kliatt, November, 2005, Nancy Zachary, review of The Food of Love, p. 13.

Library Journal, July, 2004, John Charles, review of The Food of Love, p. 67; April 1, 2006, Stephen L. Hupp, review of The Food of Love, p. 128; March 15, 2007, Sheri Melnick, review of The Wedding Officer, p. 56.

New York Times Book Review, July 25, 2004, Liesl Schillinger, "Eat to Love and Love to Eat," review of The Food of Love, p. 8.

People, August 9, 2004, Bella Stander, review of The Food of Love, p. 47.

Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2004, review of The Food of Love, p. 43; October 23, 2006, Jason Anthony, "Do I Make You a Little Horny?," discusses film option for author's unpublished book, p. 11.


Anthony Capella Home Page, (December 6, 2007).

Bibliofemme Reviews, (December 6, 2007), review of The Wedding Officer, "An Interview with Anthony Capella."

Dear Author, (December 6, 2007), review of The Wedding Officer.

Food of Love Web site, (December 6, 2007).

Wedding Officer Web site, (December 6, 2007).

Little Apple Bookworm Web site, (December 6, 2007), review of The Wedding Officer.

Random House Web site, (December 6, 2007), brief profile of author.