Culver City

Family Heartbroken After Generations-Old Italian Recipes Are Stolen from Restaurant

The diary filled with recipes and life lessons was stolen from a locked safe.

A family is heartbroken after their traditional Italian recipes passed down from generations were stolen from their restaurant. 

The family heirloom and diary that was nearly a hundred years old filled with recipes that helped create the family restaurant: “Pasta Sisters.” Though the diary and recipes have no real meaning to the thieves that stole it, they mean everything to the family. 

“My grandma’s name was Maria Jovana, but everyone called her Nona Jana,” said Francesco Sinatra. “She was the sweetest grandmother ever.”

Nona Jana born in 1929 kept a handwritten diary filled with life lessons and recipes from Northern Italy. 

“She had some more signature dishes. The gnocchi, the meat sauce, the lasagna, everything was always so tasty and delicious,” Sinatra said. 

Nona Jana died in 1999, and when her daughter and grandchildren came to the United States her diary was one of the only things they brought with them.

“That book was really important and I took it with me, and it was the only thing that I took from my mom,” said Paola Da Re.

“That book was something we could actually touch, and that was her,” said Giorgia Sinatra.

 They used the diary and her recipes as a guide to create their very own restaurant -- Pasta Sisters.

“She’s in every single recipe, our gnocchi, the lasagna, everything people eat here is like a celebration of her life,” said Giorgia. 

The diary meant so much to the family, they kept it in a safe at the restaurant.

“They jumped this gate first. They hit the glass once,” said Francesco. 

The safe was stolen early Sunday morning when two men broke into the restaurant and used bolt cutters to remove the safe from the back office.

“That diary was the most precious thing that we had here at Pasta Sisters,” shared Giorgia.

A few thousand dollars was also in the safe, but it is the heirloom this family is begging for the thieves to return. 

“This is something that goes beyond the monetary value, it is a piece of us that they stole,” Francesco told NBC. 

Pasta Sisters is offering a $5,000 dollar reward to anyone who returns it, hoping this treasured book will find its way back to them so they can pass on its lessons and recipes to the next generation.  

“She died when she was still in Italy so that was our way to bring her with us here, and it’s gone,” Giorgia said. “Just give it back. Please, just give it back.”

Contact Us