September 25, 2023


Qualified food specialists

Retro school cookbook recipes showcase future Des Moines dining pros

5 min read

A 1986 cookbook recipe from St. Anthony Catholic School in southside Des Moines offers an early glimpse of the culinary ambitions of a pair of students who have gone on to become metro dining entrepreneurs.

“A Collection of Favorite Recipes” from the students includes contributions from Tony Lemmo, who is now owner of Aposto at The Scala House in Sherman Hill, and Emily Gross, who along with her sister Andrea Williams operates catering service Taste to Go and its signature event space, Curate, in the East Village.

Tom Sacco of Des Moines discovered the cookbook in a pile at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. Sacco said he looked through the book because he had previously coached track and field at the school and wanted to see if there were any familiar names. After recognizing the names of local dining professionals, Sacco said he’d thought he’d share the story with others, including the Des Moines Register. 

“I just thought it was kind of an interesting,” he said.  

Cookbook St. Anthony School

Lemmo’s restaurant, temporarily on hiatus, offers entrees like duck risotto and house-made triangoli pasta with gorgonzola, parmesan and fontina, brown butter, walnuts, rosemary and pancetta. Gross’ menus include dishes such as beef demi-glace with crispy shallot and bacon-wrapped figs stuffed with blue cheese.

But 35 years ago, the two elementary school students were fashioning their creations from a far more basic ingredient: peanut butter.

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