Originally published Apr 22, 2013


'The Chef' is more than a mythical figment of my imagination. While becoming a regular at 'The Chef's Corner' in Naperville, we became good friends. The friendship started on our love for the game of basketball spilling over to ethnic culinary arts.  We stay in touch by having him pass on the recipes that I became accustomed to eating while visiting his restaurant.

Chef calls me from time to time, especially when it snows in Chicago. He complains about the weather in Chicago and I complain about the state of pizza in LA. Remember those comic books where the protagonist sells his soul to obtain some great power only to discover that it came at a great unmeasurable cost? I finally have something to relate to, since I sold my soul to escape Chicago winters but clearly will be cursed with crappy pizza for the rest of my life. 

The Chef laughs and replies 'pizza easy to make, this is how.....'. 

This post is not covering the entire pizza making process but does cover the baseline Marinara Sauce. Below is his process, in his own words. 

Notes:The tomatoes matter, I'm using imported tomatoes from Italy. Most people are not completely sold on the dangers of canned tomatoes since these newer cans are lined. For the conspiracy believers out there, yes this sauce may kill you among other things.  For olive oil, I'm using Greek out of a big tin..nothing fancy. The basil is coming from my backyard, hi haters. The wine does not need to be expensive either. 


  • 2 can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 cup red vine
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • handful not big of fresh basil julienne 
  • oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • chicken bouillon[optional].

heat oil in medium sauce pan add sliced garlic cook until light brown add basil 30 sec.then add wine reduce by half add tomatoes bring to boil season with salt pepper and chicken base or bouillon simmer for 30 - 40 min use potato smasher to break tomatoes check seasoning and ENJOY....chef...


Vedad Vrselj calls Travnik home despite being forced out during the Bosnian War. His former restaurant in Naperville remains one of the most respected and highly reviewed eateries in the area winning awards for best burger and infuriated competition with better ingredients for less money (His yelp reviews). His cult following continues with catering to the Chicagoland area and stays in touch with his Facebook page.