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It’s been 13 years since Top Chef season 7 introduced the talents of Chef Kenny Gilbert to the country. The Ohio native captured audiences with his skills that have opened doors to work with Oprah Winfrey, among notable clients, and in prestigious kitchens worldwide.
The celebrity chef who has opened multiple restaurant concepts is now adding cookbook author to his accolades with the release of “Southern Cooking, Global Flavors” in April.
The hardcover book is also heavy, indicating much love and hard work was put into curating recipes that capture Gilbert’s passion for food and global flavors.
“Bringing cultures together while celebrating southern ingredients,” he shares about the vision behind the 287-page cookbook. “I took the idea of some popular southern meals, and then I wanted to look at the reality of how we are as a country being a melting pot of cultures. Blended family pantries all look different through cultural influences. While loving southern dishes, we can celebrate global influences and southern dishes through the diversity of our pantries.”
Global Flavors, Global Togetherness
As one of the most extensive cookbooks in my collection, Gilbert didn’t hold back on sharing recipes that have contributed to his successful career. The book has enough recipes to easily carry you through 2 -3 months or more if you want to pick a new one to cook every day or week.
So then the question becomes, where do you start? “Take it chapter by chapter. Start with the combination you love and try the first recipe and then move on to the next,” advises Gilbert.
Before you do that, be sure to read the foreword by Alexander Smalls and just take in the photography set to dark but warm backgrounds with chapters introduced in black and white. “Armed with knowledge and collected grace of the ancestors, he continues to expand the narrative of our rich culinary inheritance,” writes Smalls, setting the tone for what follows.
Gilbert is sure to turn as many culinary category stones as possible in this book with recipes for everyone unless you are a picky eater. Recipes flavorfully tucked under Fried Chicken + Biscuits, Meatloaf + Mash Potatoes, Ribs + Slaw, Burgers + Fries, Oxtails + Rice, Chicken + Mac & Cheese, Fish + Grits, Seafood Broils, Collards + Cornbread and Cake + Pies.
A few of his favorites, “Carle Anthony’s St. Louis Ribs and Carlotta’s Slaw because it’s a direct connection with my parents and how they taught me to love food. I stay connected with my parents and show appreciation for food and who I am as an adult because of them,” he shares.
Next, he says, “Collard Greens and Cornbread chapter, the beauty and simplicity of collards and cornbread and how the use of these ingredients can directly translate to globally influenced dishes.”
As with most of my cookbooks, my neon pink Stick-It note is already filled with recipes to be added to meal rotations, including Deep South Oxtails with Buttery White Rice, Thai Collard Green Salad with Coconut Cornbread Crepes and Port Glazed Chicken Thighs with Saint Andre – White Truffle Mac & Cheese.
Yes, there are more than three on my list that is, in fact growing, but a girl has to start somewhere. And that is the key here when you pick up a copy; just start from the beginning or breeze through to find a recipe that catches your eye. In addition, make it even more of a cooking adventure and prepare one or two with someone because as much as the book is about food, it is also about human connection. And as Gilbert shares in the introduction, “This is an exploration of American food culture with the mindset that we are all humans, and we all bring different things to the table that are to be respected, shared and honored.”
“Southern Cooking, Global Flavors,” is available at our online partner, The Food Temptress Cookbook Store.
The Food Temptress Cookbook Store is an online culinary bookstore featuring more than 80 cookbooks by Black authors. Cuisine Noir does not receive a commission from sales.