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Cooking Italian

Salad Pizza Wine

And Many More Good Things from Elena

by (author) Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray & Marley Sniatowsky

Random House Canada
Initial publish date
May 2023
Italian, Pizza, Individual Chefs & Restaurants
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

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Top 100 Books of 2023 by The Globe & Mail | Best Cookbooks of 2023 by The National Post
"A boisterous cookbook that feels like you brought the award-winning restaurant home."—The Globe & Mail
"One of our favourite Canadian cookbooks of the year. Not only is it loaded with 115–plus mix–and–match recipes, but everything about it is fun, goofy and bloody delicious—just like the beloved pizza, pasta and natty wine joint. Buy this for the ones who like to moonlight as a pizzaiolo."—EnRoute magazine
"Salad Pizza Wine will help you win friends and influence people ... one of the year’s most fun and colorful cookbooks.”—Vice
A bright, bold and modern Italian cookbook packed with 115+ delicious mix-and-match recipes, plus a few goofs and some thoughts on creating a fuller life for yourself and the people around you.

A different kind of cookbook, from a different kind of restaurant. The team behind the award-winning Montreal pizza joint Elena presents Salad Pizza Wine, delivering recipes for all of life’s good things, with fresh, delicious and easy-to-recreate takes on modern Italian dishes, including:

Elena’s famous pizza
If you could eat pizza every day and feel great, would you believe it? From heavy-hitters to off-menu pies, the secret to a pizza-filled life is in Elena’s naturally leavened dough.

Salads + Vegetables
Like people, this book contains multitudes; you can stuff your face with pizza on the daily and take pleasure in eating vegetables with the seasons.

Learn how to make two super versatile doughs and their multiple variations, and impress your loved ones with an all-star roster of favorite pastas.

Meat + Fish
Take your pick from weeknight-friendly recipes, dishes to save for special occasions and one once-in-a-lifetime adventure: the gargantuan Timpano, inspired by the classic film Big Night.

Who doesn’t love sandwiches? Portable and easy to share with a friend, hoagies are also perfect for wrapping up all your tasty leftovers.

End every meal on a high note with a series of serious sweet treats for beginners and advanced bakers alike.

Lay the foundation for your home-cooking adventure with basic recipes that deliver big flavor, from crunchy toasted breadcrumbs and multi-purpose sauces to simple pickles and homemade cheeses.

More than a collection of recipes, Salad Pizza Wine shares Elena’s passion for natural wines too—the wine part of Salad Pizza Wine—as well as their goofs and thoughts on living a fuller life. The authors—Janice, Stephanie, Ryan, Marley—were part of Elena’s opening team who came together, burnt out from years in the restaurant industry and ready to start afresh. Their answer was to create a restaurant that was also a healthy working environment (gasp). At Elena, it’s all about making the most of a good thing—and the same goes for this book. Whether it’s planning a dinner (salad, pizza, wine? pizza, pasta, dessert? salad, meat, hoagie?), or letting go of stuff that no longer serves you, Salad Pizza Wine encourages you to choose your own adventure—both in the kitchen and in life.

Written in a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek style, this is a cookbook you’ll really want to cook from, as well as to read. Because what’s better than cooking beautiful food, being kind to those around us and laughing as we all try to figure it out?

About the authors

Contributor Notes

ELENA opened in Montreal in 2018 as a restaurant with kindness, generosity and authenticity at its heart. JANICE TIEFENBACH is the executive chef of Elena and the co-owner of Gia Vin & Grill; STEPHANIE MERCIER VOYER is a writer whose work has appeared in Elle and enRoute magazine amongst many other publications; RYAN GRAY is the co-owner of Elena, Nora Gray and Gia Vin & Grill; MARLEY SNIATOWSKY is the co-owner of Elena and Gia Vin & Grill.

Excerpt: Salad Pizza Wine: And Many More Good Things from Elena (by (author) Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray & Marley Sniatowsky)

Excerpt from the Introduction by Stephanie Mercier Voyer

Ryan Gray is one of the first people I called when my life fell apart in 2017. We’d met a few years earlier when he hired me to work at his first restaurant, Nora Gray, and once again, I needed a job. He was about to open a new spot called Elena with partners Emma Cardarelli and Marley Sniatowsky. Chef Janice Tiefenbach, who had also worked at Nora Gray, would helm the kitchen. Ryan offered me a server position on the spot.

When Nora Gray opened in 2011, Italian food in Montreal was synonymous with checkered-tablecloth, Italian American red-sauce joints. Nora was everything but. Emma’s cooking explored regionally specific Italian dishes using fresh ingredients from Quebec, while Ryan’s wine list introduced the city’s palate to some of the most remarkable natural winemakers. Nora Gray is where I truly fell in love with food and wine. It was and remains one of the best tables in town.

Opening a more casual restaurant focused on wood-fire pizza and natural wine felt like the natural progression to what Nora Gray had started. By 2017, natural wine had carved its way onto several wine lists across Montreal, but no one in the city was making local, seasonal pizza. They wanted to change that with Elena. The wisdom at the time was that to make the best, most authentic Neapolitan pizza, you had to import everything from Italy, from the oven to the flour, tomatoes and even the water. But the thing that makes Neapolitan pizza so delicious and unique is that all the ingredients are fresh and sourced locally. Italian cuisine is all about using what can be found in your specific region. That’s why Northern Italian pasta receives a shower of Parmigiano-Reggiano, while Central Italian dishes are sprinkled with pecorino. Naturally, opening a restaurant that made Neapolitan pizza using Quebec ingredients felt more authentically Italian than making dough with imported 00 flour and bottled water from Naples.

When I showed up in Montreal, a week after my phone call with Ryan, to visit an apartment in St-Henri, a neighborhood that at the time felt eons away from the bustle of the city, I ran into Marley. He was covered in construction dust and had a big smile on his face. He asked if I wanted to come check out the building across the street. Tucked between a boarded-up apartment building and a dépanneur, this unassuming, brown-bricked storefront would soon house Elena. There was no floor, no staircase, no ceiling and no electricity. “This is where the open kitchen is going to be—openness is what this place is all about,” gestured Marley as we walked over generators and construction lamps. “Oh, and we’re building a massive wood-fire oven over there. And that’s where we’re going to set up the pizza slide.” The twinkle in his eye registered as someone who was both excited and completely insane.

That night, a bunch of our friends (people who would end up being part of Elena’s opening crew) gathered at Marley’s for dinner. All of us came of age working in the restaurant industry at a time when excess was akin to greatness. We had seen and done it all: late nights, drugs, alcohol, yelling and getting into fights. But now that we were older, we felt kind of burnt out. We were ready for a new chapter and we were hoping that new chapter could be Elena.
During dinner, dough wizard Jake “Bigsby” Bagshaw talked about the intricacies of the perfect pizza and Ryan yapped about bringing natural wine to the masses with a program that featured winemakers who shared our ethos. Elena the restaurant, he explained, was even named after one of those winemakers, the legendary Elena Pantaleoni from La Stoppa in Emilia-Romagna. She represented everything we aspired to be. Throughout her career, Elena has pushed against the grain, making decisions that were financially risky but that she knew would benefit the planet and her community in the long run. Inspired to break the mold, we all chimed in about the kind of place we wanted Elena to be. “Any idiot can open a restaurant,” laughed Marley while pointing at us. “Some people can open a great restaurant, but very few people can open a restaurant that’s also a healthy environment.”

That’s what we set out to do at Elena—to create a place where people could feel safe to express who they are, try things and become their better selves. We were aware of the risks of doing things differently and putting people’s well-being ahead of business objectives. But we knew in our guts that this was the only way we’d survive as people.

We had to burn it all down and start from scratch.

Editorial Reviews

“The thing about the folks at Elena is, they know what’s up. The food is phenom, the wine is bonkers and it’s the kind of neighborhood resto you can really only dream of. To now be able to recreate even a sliver of that Elena vibe at home through their many delicious and highly cookable recipes is a blessing to all of us. Expert salads, insane pizzas, perfect pasta and natty wine? That’s. What’s. Up.”
—MOLLY BAZ, author Cook This Book

“Ryan and his team always take care of me with delicious bites and fantastic wine whenever I’m in Montreal, so of course I will endorse this book heartily to not risk endangering future bites or wine intake.”

Salad Pizza Wine empowers both aspiring and seasoned home cooks to revisit Italian classics with a twist. From Tomato Tonnato (genius in its simplicity) to the Mortadella, Artichokes, Pistachio pizza (taking my favorite charcuterie board elements and throwing them on a ‘za) nothing excites me more than new creative spins on the familiar, and this wonderful book does just that.”

“Salad, pizza, wine—I would say it’s impossible to find a better combination. Hyper-seasonal but unfussy pies paired with bright and crunchy salads, this is the food I want to eat all the time. It’s food that feels fresh and fun. The next best thing to experiencing the amazing vibe at Elena is to feel it channeled through these colorful pages and be able to recreate it at home (with a bottle of your favorite wine).”
—JESS DAMUCK, author Salad Freak

“A whole Elena cookbook just for me! But wait . . . now the rest of the world will get to taste my go-to order of the Kale! Caesar! and the Diavolo 2.0? A win-win for us all. From a small corner in St-Henri comes this big, fresh and VIBRANT cookbook. The future looks tasty.”
—MEREDITH ERICKSON, author Alpine Cooking

“Elena does everything so right. The ingredients are local, seasonal and fresh, the naturally fermented pizzas and breads are tender and delicious and the staff possess that magical only-in-Montreal radiance and style. When I’m missing Montreal extra badly, I know that this terrific cookbook will transport me back to those delicious, abundant meals.”

Salad Pizza Wine, which could easily be renamed Pasta Hoagies Desserts, offers you a choose-your-own-adventure approach to bringing Elena’s fun and delicious dishes home to prepare in any order or combination you see fit!”
—KATIE PARLA, author Food of the Italian Islands

“The entire team at Elena are real beauties. If you aren’t Canadian, that’s slang for ‘exceptional people who create exceptional places.’”
—RIAD NASR, chef and co-owner Frenchette and Le Rock

“When I gaze north to Canada I see a special magic. A rare and guiding light. Elena has yielded that light many times over. Not just in food and wine but also in kindness. And all with a special sleight of hand that comes from the heart—which is really the only thing that matters in cooking and hospitality.”
—JOE BEDDIA, author Pizza Camp

Salad Pizza Wine has the same spirit of camaraderie, kindness and family that fills the four walls of Elena and its menu IRL … Accessible and adaptable to taste and cooking comfort levels, the dishes are meant to be mixed, matched and modified without fuss.”
—Elle Canada

“Salad Pizza Wine is a colorful, friendly book by friends, about friends, and for friends. A sort of mission statement and bible of beloved Montreal restaurant Elena, this volume completely embodies the feeling of being in a fun, Italian-inspired eatery where wine flows freely and wood-fired pizzas draft by you every minute or two […] More than that, though, this book is a treatise on living a good life, on making something real, fun, and tasty with your friends and sharing it with the world. I know that sounds corny, but, honestly, that’s what makes a great restaurant for me. The homies behind Elena have turned that ethos into one of the year’s most fun and colorful cookbooks.”
“The 115-plus recipes include naturally leavened and yeasted versions of blistered, thin-crust Neapolitan and rectangular, Roman-style al taglio pizza, pasta and hoagies. And, as the title hints, a generous number of salads and vegetable dishes […] Salad Pizza Wine belongs to an especially practical category of restaurant cookbook, written with the home cook in mind. Building blocks such as the spiced Dante vinegar can be a marinade on its own or mixed with olive oil for a vinaigrette. The same dough used to make Neapolitan pizza can be shaped into hoagie buns, which you could then stuff with fried chicken and Kale! Caesar! salad, meatballs or eggplant Parmesan.”
Cookbook of the Week, National Post
"A boisterous cookbook that feels like you brought the award-winning restaurant home."
The Globe & Mail
"One of our favourite Canadian cookbooks of the year. Not only is it loaded with 115–plus mix–and–match recipes, but everything about it is fun, goofy and bloody delicious—just like the beloved pizza, pasta and natty wine joint. Buy this for the ones who like to moonlight as a pizzaiolo."
EnRoute magazine

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