My name is Elana Iaciofano (last name is pronounced YACH-O-FANO…it’s fun to say!). I live in New Jersey with my husband Eric and our nine bicycles. I am a creative director for the food industry, food photographer, illustrator, author, and pizzaiola.
I consider food an art form: preparation, cooking, and presentation. Every ingredient that is used, every fork that accompanies a dish, adds to the story.
I’m also a wee bit obsessed with pizza. I teach pizza cooking classes and formerly owned a mobile pizza cooking school.
I wrote, illustrated and photographed Zaza’s Perfect Pie: a story, activity, and cookbook about one little girl’s quest to make the perfect pizza.
I currently work as the Creative Director for Colavita Olive Oil.
Some more fun facts about me:
- I started drawing when I was 9 months old.
- My favorite TV show of all time is the X-Files.
- I have read all the Harry Potters eight times. Cover to cover.
- Choosing a favorite pizza topping is like choosing a favorite child. But if pressed…. Pear and gorgonzola with rosemary and honey.
- My brother John and I started this food blog back in 2010. That’s where I started to learn food photography and recipe writing.
- My dad once tried to convince me that Campbell’s Clam Chowder was his own home made.
- I have a lot of pizza knowledge. So if you have questions, just ask.
What will I find on this blog?
I hope you’ll find entertainment and overall culinary inspiration. I would love for you to find the motivation to run to your kitchen, spatula in hand, screaming, “I’m gonna make this NOW!”
At the very least, I can guarantee you’ll find a lot of Italian food. I will feature my family’s recipes, traditional recipes, and some of my own more modern experiments.
There are some old posts on this blog… and some terrible food photography!
Oh yes! When I started the blog, I didn’t even own a DSLR. I used the excuse of creating a food blog to teach myself food photography, styling, and recipe writing. I practiced every day. I took photos every hour to see how the light would change. I bought new plates. A lot of them. And eventually some nice lenses. Now it’s my job!
He’s my brother. I first started this blog with John as a place where we could discuss our passion for Italian food, run around like maniacs in search of cannoli and pizza, and discuss our father’s fascination with Diet Orange Crush. But more than that, the blog was about our lives. Food feeds our bodies and also our souls, so we thought of the blog as a reflection of who we are as people, not just what we choose to put in our mouths.
John is currently on hiatus from blogging. But I’m reinvigorating it with my voice, photos and recipes. This blog used to be called “John and Elana Talk About Food,” but since it’s just me now, I’m calling it “Just Elana.”
Additional Blog Contributors/Characters
Mom – a.k.a. Marmo, Marlene
– Mom is perhaps solely responsible for setting us on the right path towards our ultimate appreciation of fine Italian cuisine. As kids growing up, she worked part time as a travel agent, but always found time to deliver a delicious home cooked dinner every night. Today, Marmo owns and operates Gourmet Getaways, a business which organizes cooking and wine tours throughout Italy. Elana and I have both happily played the part as assistant tour guides during these voyages, and, when it comes to Italian food and culture, owe much of our adventurous, inquisitive side to her.
Dad – a.k.a. “The Box”
– And on the opposite end of the culinary curiosity continuum lies “The Box”, whose Frankie Valli blasting, spaghetti slurping, 3 a.m. cookie snacking habits still deserve their due respect in shaping our ultimate palates and views concerning Italian culture and fare. An accomplished attorney of considerable intelligence, yet simple needs – pasta, naps, and the Jersey Shore – Dad’s culinary preferences seldom stray from known tastes and hefty portioned plates. Take Dad’s temperature on Scipio Africanus’ contributions to the Punic Wars and he’ll beam with pride and suffocate you with impressive historical fact flinging. But mention to Dad the idea of leaving the Garden State on a trip to Italy and he becomes paralyzed with fears of pedestrian exploration and lack of access to the Golf Channel.