Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking back on 2012 - Staying focused on 2013

As individuals we try or best to learn from our mistakes and improve upon ourselves on a daily basis. The truth is I was not that person. I was the person that made the same mistakes over and over and over again. Never learning from them and not caring who my mistakes hurt.
You hear people talk about having and epiphany, well three years ago I had an epiphany. I didn't want to be that person anymore. I knew I could be better and I knew that I had yet to evolve into the person that I had the potential to be.

Filming my On-Line show "Yo Cuz!  The Italian-American Cook
at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Looking back on 2012 I have to take in all my Blessings.  Although taking it one day at a time I made it thru my 3rd year of sobriety. I've learned that having a support system was and is the key to my sobriety. Sometimes you may loose friends not because they don't care about you but because you both have come to a fork in the road and you choose a different path. Since my sobriety I have had people applaud my efforts and people who try to remind me of the past. They try to convince themselves that back then I was a better person. (I say convince themselves cause I was already convinced that back then I was a jerk) .The reality is that when your moving in a different direction than the masses people don't understand your movement until they to make the necessary changes in their lives and at that time they will then realize why you made the decision to be a better person. I'm more focused then ever and I continue to build upon myself and my brand.

Speaking of brands, 2012 was the year I embarked on major branding. Okay well I always had a brand "Cafe Martorano" I built it from the ground up. It's now bigger than I could have ever imagined and its still growing, but thats not what I'm talking about. I wanted to create a brand that was almost a homage to my childhood. Something young, fresh, new, vibrant and most of all inspiring. With that said I created "Yo Cuz". You see growing up in South Philly in our neighborhood we had a lot of phrases or saying that we used. For example "Ya sistas Azz" what does that mean? Well, it can be used a few different ways.

A: What makes a great gravy? Pork butt, pigs feet, beef braciole and ya sistas azz.
B: I saw you at the club last night... Ya sistas Azz saw me at the club last night cause I was at home.

I hope you get it cause thats the only way I know how to explain it. "Yo Cuz" is something like that.
"Yo Cuz" is a term of endearment. When I was growing up we never called our cousins by their real names. We never said "Hey Marie" or "Yo Anthony" we would say "Yo Cuz" or if you were on the corner and your friend came around they wouldn't say "Yo Stevie" wether we were related or not we would say "Yo Cuz" but best of all if you forgot someones name and you ran into them and don't want to embarrass yourself or them because you forgot their name whats better than saying "Yo Cuz, How you doin'."

That was the thought process behind a lot of my endeavors in 2012. So I decided to begin a jewelry line. At the beginning I just had the idea of one bracelet but then it evolved into so much more. I am constantly telling people what the mind can conceive the mind can achieve and so I conceived it and set out to achieve it. I partnered with my friends and jewelers Mark and Robin Levinson and created the concept and drafted the designs. This was a great way to start 2012. On January 26, 2012 we hosted our first "Yo Cuz" jewelry line launch event. It was a great night and a hugh achievement to see something that I envisioned come to life and to see peoples reaction was priceless.


 During this process a great friend of our Mrs. Ann Lewis introduced us to a great organization. The Urban League of Broward County. She knew that I wanted to find someplace that would motivate me to continue on the path that I was on and where I could help motivate people with my story. The Urban League of Broward County helps under privileged kids of all races and their families. Ann had the students form one of their programs come have a tour of my Hard Rock restaurant and we talked and i was able to listen to some of their stories. It was life changing for me to hear the reality of their lives. So being raised by grandparents some scared to walk home or go outside from the fear of being shot. This all happening not even ten minutes from where I live or where I have a business. At that point I knew it was my calling to help these kids. Proceeds from the jewelry line goes back to the Urban League of Broward County and I go to speak, feed, mentor and help out with the kids as much as possible.
There is nothing more rewarding then helping others and if
you can get a child to believe in themselves and make a
better life for themselves then you just took one step in
helping the world be a better place Cuz.

Some people would find this hard to believe but I sleep about two to three hours a night because I'm constantly thinking of the next move. The next thing I can do to stay relevant to stay new to keep up with the changing times and yes still inspire. So guess what? I decided to do a clothing line under the "Yo Cuz" brand. The idea was to have shirts that have inspirational quotes on them. You see I put quotes on Facebook everyday and I leave an inspirational message on my voice mail every week. People were calling my phone to hear the message and not talk to me. If I answered they would say "hang up I want to hear your message" and they would call back. So why not do something that could trigger a thought in someone and motivate them. I wanted "Yo Cuz" to now become a lifestyle. 

We started selling the shirts online at and then we got a local shop here in Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Blvd. Shop 603 to carry the shirts as well. Its a blessing its doing so well 2013 will be even better.

I never had to travel as much as I had to this year and although it can be very tiresome it was all a blessing. I was invited to be on a national VH1 show "VH1 The Morning Buzz". Its always an honor to be on any television show but when they allow you to come and promote your brand and yourself to an audience that may not already know you. Thats a blessing and thats just what I did. I was able to promote my new wine "Martorano Chianti and Pinot Grigio". Shit most people still don't know i have my own wine but I know that no matter how successful I am at anything once embruing on any new ventures you have to take baby steps and we started crawling but we are up and walking.

Martorano Chianti

Martorano Chianti and Pinot Grigio on sale at Crown Liq.
One of the most memorable events of 2012 was being invited to the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. They asked me along with other chefs (I'm not a chef just a cook) to cook for a VIP event of 1200 for two days. This was hard as fuck. We had to make 1200 meatballs and roll them bay hand two days in a row. With my team we got it done. The event was put on by the Food Network on the First night I got the chance to do my demo with Anne Burell.

The second night was the best not the Anne Burell wasn't fun she really was but I was really looking forward to meeting Paula Deen. Let me tell you this woman is really an inspiration to me fuck what anyone has to say about her. Ever since this event Paula has embraced me and has been nothing but nice. She even invited me to Savannah this past November to be a guest on her new show that will air 2013. We even got a chance to do the hustle on stage. It was great. 

I could go on forever on all the places I went the people I met and the shows I was on but I won't. Im going to end this blog with the last two things in 2012 that meant the most to me. People have always told me that I couldn't be anything and I wouldn't be anything. People still to this day hate the fact that I have overcome so much and I'm still standing. Five years ago I embarked on the journey of opening y second restaurant in Las Vegas NV. A year after opening the restaurant I had a pain in my chest and when I went into  the doctor to get it checked they found that three of my main arteries were 98 percent blocked. The next day I had a triple bypass. Many rumors circulated that I had a heart attack FALSE as a matter of fact heart disease in my family is hereditary so people if its the same case in your family please go get checked. They also said that I lost the restaurant in Las Vegas. You see the reality is that many people want to see me fall but I got a surprise for them. I just celebrated my 5th year anniversary at Martorano's Las Vegas. That was a huge milestone in my life because everybody said I would fail.

Robyn Leach, Steve Martorano, Mike Severino
Lastly I said before that there is no better feeling than being able to put a smile on a childs face and thats what we did this Christmas to end this year. I wanted to give the kids at the Urban League and the community a Christmas if they were not able to have one at home. We asked friends, family, and customers to come out and volunteer their time on Christmas day and as many toys a possible to give these kids and their families and I was a true success.

2012 was great 2013 is going to be even better. YO CUZ!

Dictated by Steve Martorano 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just because it's busy and cheap DOES NOT mean it's good

It's August 10, 2011. The day after I appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show to promote my new book Yo Cuz! My Life, My Food, My Way and my online cooking show that debuted last month, Yo Cuz The Italian American Cook which can be found on my website and With that being said yesterday was a long f*^king day and I figured today would be the best day to cheat. on my diet and my workout and eat whatever I wanted to for a change. So I asked the concierge at the hotel that I'm staying at what is a GREAT and I did say GREAT place to have breakfast and I was referred to a place on Sunset and Crescent Heights called The Griddle Cafe.

Keep in mind in no way am i biased to a place because of its location or the exterior. When I walked in, the place had a cozy vibe. A bar to the right and additional seating to the left. I had a seat and got a menu half the size of the enclyopedia. There was everything from Breakfast to dinner. What was great was that breakfast was served all day. So in full Martorano fashion I ordered a few different things just so I could taste, mostly all of what I ordered was recommended by my server as top sellers.

Ok I ordered alot of food and common sense would tell the server to not bring it all out at once. Shit I was wrong not only did he bring it all out at once but when there was no more room on the table to put another plate he handed it to me.

I ordered the following:

Benedict y Papas - 2 Poached eggs over ham and potato skins topped with a homemade hollanidaise sauce.

The potato skins were undercooked but the eggs and the sauce were ok not good but just ok.

Moms French Toast - Egg cooked bread Griddle cooked to perfection. Mom's old fashioned way.Topped with powdered sugar and whipped butter.

The french toast has to be one of Mom's best. It was good. The toast was griddle cooked to perfection and the whipped butter brought everything together perfectly.

Ham and Cheese Omlette - It explains its self

When I say the quality of the ham was as close to plastic as it could be. TRUST ME as simple as it sounds was horrible.


Ham, Bacon, sausage links and french fries

I was not expecting half the pig- It was cold as ice when it came to the table, so was the sausage links and the bacon. Not only was the bacon cold but it almost tasted like paint thinner. The french fries surprisingly was decent.

Lets just say the next time I'm in LA I will not make it my business to go to The Griddle Cafe and I don't suggest anyone looking for a quality meal to either but if you don't give a shit about the quality of what you eat and you just want alot of food for a small amount of money Cuz you've found your place.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

YO Cuz The Italian American Cook

Please visit my website

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Yo Cuz! The Italian American Cook: Episode 2 - Old School Roasted Peppers

Check out my new online cooking series at "Yo Cuz! The Italian American Cook". This week I'm teaching you how to make homemade roasted peppers, the way my grandma used to make em' Yo Cuz

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you think you know me????

Do u know me? Do u think u know me? Do u really know who I am? Until u read my autobiography Yo Cuz: My Life My Food My Way you will never really know me. I'm the person just trying to pay his bills. I'm the person that the world keeps saying no to but I say YES. I'm the person that life keeps knocking down but I keep getting up. Who am I. I AM HOPE. The Steve Martorano story.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yo Cuz: My Life My Food My Way

This is the first book of it's kind, a cook book/autobiography. It gives you the background story of a guy who could've easily turned the wrong way, growing up cooking for the Philly mobsters but then using this talent to become a successful business man and acclaimed restaurateur now cooking for the biggest celebrities in Hollywood. He doesn't hold back when it comes to telling stories of his family life. And how he took a smart business idea from doing a Godfather night at his dads place in the 70's, and made it a huge success in his restaurants today.
This book is a true testament to who Steve Martorano is and what he's about. Holding on to his dream and making it happen, taking the punches (like his idol Rocky Balboa)and never giving up. you will learn the about the man behind The Cafe Martorano brand and how he took his favorite passions; food, music and movies to turn it into a mecca for people who love to have a unique dining experience. Steve and Son spin and show their favorite movies while the patrons eat his world famous meatballs which he put "on the map" , a simple pizzarea item is now his specialty and rated "best in the world"...

His inspirational messages throughout the book will motivate you to find yourself or perhaps follow your dream of opening your own place or it can just inspire you to find the joy in cooking for family and friends, with SIMPLE COMFORT FOOD COOKING.
This book is a tribute to his mother/grandmother and their culture and Italian American values and what she gave her family from their love of food and amazing family secret recipes from her Sunday night dinners.
" YO CUZ,"the S. Philly hello what's up..So YO CUZ is a must read!