The real Franco Stefano


In book one, Christina decides to venture out on her own. She could try any of the bars or restaurants in busy Fitzroy, but instead she chooses the safer option of a book launch. The fictitious book shop was actually based on the wonderful ‘Books for Cooks’ on Gertrude Street in Melbourne and the author, the real life cook and author Stefano de Pieri.

Stefano has written many cook books, appeared in a television series featuring the food and people of Mildura, and more importantly opened restaurants and supported food producers and artists in this remote rural city.

He has almost single handedly raised the profile of Mildura from a large agricultural town on the Murray river, to a cultural and gastronomical mecca. No mean feat when the town is situated almost halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne and a good six hour drive either way.
Marketing gurus charged with the task of promoting regional tourism would kill to have someone like him, a modern day Pied Piper, tempting travellers to their town.

I had been on the road for a week, doing research. The heroine in my new book will be an outsider who comes to a struggling town and sees the potential in an area no longer growing the food big supermarkets want to buy. An area with no plan to breathe life into it’s struggling economy.

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