Nick Stellino in many ways personifies the American Dream. Born and raised in Palermo, Sicily, he came to America, alone, when he was only 17 years old. At 33 he quit his job and followed his dream to become a chef and run his own restaurant. His first restaurant job consisted of washing dishes, a privilege for which he paid $5.00 a day. Within a year, he was a head chef. Although offered a prestigious Chef position at one of Los Angeles's most successful restaurants, he opted instead to follow a new vision: to create a TV series about Italian cooking and a companion cookbook. In 1995, 2 years and 2000 phone calls later, the first series of his TV show "Cucina Amore" aired on PBS. Nick is the author of four cookbooks, all companions to his 143 television shows: Cucina Amore (Doubleday), Glorious Italian Cooking (Putnam), and Mediterranean Flavors (Putnam), and his newest cookbook, Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen (Putnam), which was the basis for his most recent show, which debuted in the fall of 2000.