True to her roots
July/August 2016 California Bountiful magazine
Story by Barbara Arciero
Photos by Matt Salvo
Cook's passion for food sparked on the ranch
Award-winning cook Laurie Figone loves sharing her easy yet flavorful style of cooking with others—she's hosted her own TV cooking show, authored a cookbook, and gives daily cooking demonstrations at the Sonoma County Fair.
Laurie Figone's kitchen is her playground. It's been that way since growing up on a 1,100-acre ranch in Novato, where grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were her nearest neighbors.
"Every Sunday, my grandparents would have a huge dinner and there would be at least 30, if not 35, family members there," Figone recalled. "My grandmother did all the cooking and it was a big feast. I think that's where my love of all this food came from."
Figone's mother encouraged her daughter's interest.
"She always let me tinker in the kitchen," Figone said. "I would just pull whatever I could find in her refrigerator and start creating a recipe. I loved to be adventurous with ingredients, and I grew up having local, homegrown food that we raised on the ranch."
Today, from her home in nearby Petaluma, Figone continues to pursue her passion for food with verve and an almost single-minded determination. A former TV cooking show host, Figone has participated in multiple cooking competitions, judged others, hosts cooking demonstrations at the Sonoma County Fair and recently penned a cookbook (see book review).
The county fair, which runs July 22 through Aug. 7 this year, gives Figone the opportunity to highlight local farmers and ranchers—a new one each day.
"They bring me whatever they're producing and I make a recipe with it. The fair is a 15-day run, so that's a lot of cooking demos, but I love it so much," she said. "I'm very passionate about food. I just love sharing all that with everybody."
West Coast grilled pizza burger
Lamb sliders on Kalamata biscuit buns
Pete's grilled corn potato salad
Grandma's apple strudel