The last time I spoke with Joe Amendola face to face was at Nation’s Restaurant News’ Culinary R&D conference in 2005. Flashing his signature smile, the “senior ambassador” of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., presented me with a copy of his latest book, “Tastes and Tales of a Chef, A Culinary Journey with Mr. A.” After a quick “thank you,” I was about to make my excuses and run off to work when four words on the cover stopped me in my tracks and ...

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