Download It (Soon): Luca d'Italia's iCookbook

June 2012

A week ago, when Eater reported that Bonanno Concepts was releasing a cookbook for the iPad, that was only part of the story. Sure, the free, how-to-throw-a-party-for-eight mini Luca d'Italia iCookbook will be available for download shortly. But that's just a preview of what's to come: A mighty, first-of-its-kind, interactive Luca cookbook (pictured) with more than 70 recipes, hours of video, and animated instruction. The $14.95 book will go live in late July and it will be distributed in 32 countries.

Frank and Jacqueline Bonanno have been working on a Luca book for years but when Chris McNeal (a manager at Osteria Marco and founder of Stage Multimedia) proposed they go digital, the project accelerated. Although this won't be the first interactive cookbook to arrive on the market (several big-name chefs have rereleased already existing titles), the Bonannos and McNeal believe theirs is the first to be devised this way from the get-go.

And the book (which I've had a chance to play with) is impressive. There's a pasta dough recipe that—through the course of three videos—will convince you that homemade tagliatelle or agnolotti is attainable. The lobster fra diavola is embedded with a knife skills demo and a recipe for basic marinara. There are slideshows and videos on making mozzarella, ricotta, and burrata. There's a recipe for panna cotta (quite possibly my favorite dessert ever), step-by-step cocktail instruction, and an interactive glossary.

The idea here, says McNeal, is that there's something for all levels of cooks. The videos make the recipes accessible for everyone but there are also seriously advanced dishes (cue rabbit three ways) for those with more skills. Most of all, both the preview and the full-blown cookbook underscore the inspiration behind Luca d'Italia: The importance of coming together and sharing a meal.

Wish List: Now, if only the Luca books would employ this technology.