Fans of Chef Kevin Gillespie, it's time to tie on your aprons and pull out the pork belly! This cookbook has everything you could want and more, from personal stories about being an overweight kid to learning to cook like a chef. Oh, right, and page after page of absoultely mouthwatering recipes for you to make at home. Come for the stories, stay for the food.
• Who wrote it: Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim
• Who published it: Andrews McMeel Publishing
• Number of recipes: 120
• Recipes for right now: Sage-Battered Mushrooms with Cheddar Fonduta, Svory Fig Tart, Cast-Iron Skillet Chicken with Farro and Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage Dumplings with Country Sausage, Smoked Trout Puffs with Bacon Jam, Cheddar Waffles with Pork Schnitzel, Honey Bun Bread Pudding,
• Other highlights: This is an "ingredients first" cookbook. Quite literally! The recipes aren't in traditional "1 cup chopped onions" format, but rather listed with the ingredient itself, "Onion," in bold lettering with the suggested amount and preparation below. I like it. Not only does this little trick make you think of the ingredient outside whatever you're about to do to it, but it also seems to create a little space for you to do your own thing. Maybe you love onion and want a little more of it here—ok, do it!
I also love the extensive chapter openers and headnotes. If you were a fan of Kevin Gillespie when he was on Top Chef, this book lets you get to know him even more intimately. He opens up and shares the stories behind his recipes, talks about growing up in the South, how he learned to cook, and how he thinks about food. All cookbooks are a snapshot of the chef who writes them, but this one is more like an art gallery.
• Who would enjoy this book? Fans of Kevin Gillespie, people who love Southern food and flavors
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Fire In My Belly: Real Cooking by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim
(Images: Emma Christensen)