Hi. I’m Amanda.
I started ENNI with a simple philosophy. The stomach should be satisfied and the mind should be stimulated. There are so many places to get a meal. I want to give people an experience.
My food is a personal expression of my cumulative life experiences, commitments, and passions.
My father is from Hungary and most of my family is still there. If one goes there and speaks no Hungarian, you will leave knowing one phrase…”enni.” It is at the heart of their culture. “What would you like to eat?,” “When would you like to eat?,” “Have you eaten?,” and my personal favorite, “Come and eat!” As a child I knew a limited amount of Hungarian words but over and over, year after year, I would hear my grandmother, my aunts, my cousins, neighbors communicate with me through “enni.” No other words were needed because this one said it all… I love you, you’re special, I want to make you happy.
I have been going to Hungary and surrounding countries for several weeks at a time since I was six months old. It is my second home and it is hard to put into words how much my many visits have influenced me as a person and as a chef. My mind is filled with countless food memories involving tastes, smells, feelings, and visuals. I remember places we ate including homes, restaurants, taverns, backyards, around fires, forests, fields, and even under fruit trees on the side of a road.
I remember the people who cooked for us, ate with us, and enthusiastically offered us anything and everything they had when we came to their home. And of course I remember the food, the glorious food. My grandmother and aunts have made some of the best meals I have ever eaten and all from a tiny kitchen and an even tinier stove. Their gorgeous pastries rival anything I have ever had at an upscale restaurant. And it wasn’t just what they served you, it was the caring way that they served you. The delights that I experienced at those tables shaped me over my lifetime in the most lovely way.
As I grew older I wanted to provide that kind of feeling to others and so I began to cook. No matter what style of food I’m preparing or what the venue is, the root of all of it is a table in a tiny village in Hungary where my grandmother and aunt showed me how much I meant to them, one dish at a time.
My first trip to Italy changed me forever. I don’t even know how to begin to describe how I felt there. Food and wine dominate the country. Their dedication and obsessiveness in this realm is awe-inspiring, admirable, and even borderline insane. I have never witnessed food and ingredients being taken so seriously before. The generosity at their tables, markets, and restaurants is overwhelming. Although each region in Italy has their own unique recipes and traditions, they have one thing in common… pleasure at the table. The way they eat, the feelings surrounding their meals are the same.
I left Italy realizing how good food can actually be. As I prepare meals I will always hold that standard in my mind and will continually visit for inspiration.
It will be an honor to cook for you.