Get a taste of what chef Gregory Gourdet prepares for himself and friends in his debut cookbook, “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health.” He thinks everyone should be able to eat great food, hence the name.
I find this gorgeous cookbook worth keeping front and center in your kitchen for a long time, just as Gourdet hopes. The thick page-turner features over 200 recipes rich in vitamins and antioxidants and free from gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar and legumes.
Gourdet arranges them into 14 useful chapters such as the Morning Meals, Soups and the Purees, Sauces, Dressings, Oils, Butters and Milks. My favorites are the Seafood and the Desserts and Sweets chapters, as evident by the 23 items on my “to-make” list.
Diverse Goodness on a Plate
I have other recipes bookmarked as well as like the Spanish Tortilla with Melted Leeks and Pimenton Aioli (Eggs Anytime), the Charred Eggplant Dip with Garlic Confit and Herbs (Dips), the Vietnamese-Style Duck Curry (Birds) and the Icy Fermented Pineapple (Ferments, Pickles, and Preserves). I intend to sip on the coconut lemonade this summer from the Smoothie, Coolers, Shrubs, and Haitian Hot Chocolate recipe chapter. The Mixes and Blends chapter seems awkwardly placed after browsing pages of goodness – my only complaint with this hardcover.
I must confess, I’m re-evaluating my vegetable intake after viewing the first two chapters: Raw and Cold Plants and Cooked and Hot Plants. The beautiful images alone make me want to adopt a vegan lifestyle. The photographer does an excellent job of capturing more than 180 photographs of mouthwatering, colorful dishes. Bravo!
The ingredient lists consist of pantry staples found at most natural supermarkets like Whole Foods and Latin, Caribbean or Asian markets. Nothing outrageous. Gourdet introduces readers to some familiar and new products by explaining what they are and why he uses them. The instructions also appear straightforward. I appreciate the transparency.
Honoring Ancestors Through Food
Gourdet was raised in Queens, New York, by Haitian parents. When he turned four years old, his parents sent him and his baby sister to live with their maternal grandparents in Haiti. This gave his parents the opportunity to earn more money as a microbiologist (mother) and a hospital chemist (father). This also allowed Gourdet and his sister to learn and experience Haitian culture and foods.
Later, back in the states, Gourdet started using alcohol and drugs in high school, which later carried over into college and on the job. He worked in restaurants to support himself and his habit. He soon discovered that cooking and feeding others brought him joy. His boss suggested he go to culinary school.
After receiving a degree from the University of Montana, he attended and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. In five years, he went from line cook to sous chef to chef de cuisine for Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In 2008, he moved to Portland, Oregon and led the pan-Asian kitchen at Departure for a decade.
Along his life’s journey, he joined a gym, changed his diet and took up running. Eventually, he got sober. Now, the two-time Top Chef finalist and James Beard Award nominee has been named Chef of the Year by Eater. In addition, he was named one of the fittest chefs in America by Men’s Health.
He believes cooking the foods of Haiti connects him not only to his family but to his ancestors. In 2022, Gourdet will share his food with others when he opens a wood-fired Haitian restaurant called Kann in Portland. Until then, readers can experience global fare by cooking their way through “Everyone’s Table.”
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