In 2015 while on a flight to Yangon for the Burma Superstar cookbook, photographer John Lee and I started talking about how much we loved Armenian food. I had only met John a couple of times before this flight, but you can find out a lot about someone when you're stuck in an airplane for hours. I explained that I had written an entire research paper about the Armenian food and cultural identity as an undergraduate at UCDavis. John filled me in on his recent trip to Yerevan, Armenia's capital, where he taught a food photography workshop to Armenian high-school kids through an amazing after-school education organization called TUMO. Could we turn John’s initial inspiration into a cookbook? After many weeks of talking to other people about Armenian food, John met Ara Zada, a chef in Southern California. Ara is Armenian-American and grew up going to Armenian school though seventh grade. The team started to take shape: Me, the cookbook writer; John, the photographer; and Ara, the chef.
In 2016, I worked with Champagne expert and wine writer Peter Liem on crafting his opus on one of the world's most iconic wine regions. Since Peter had taken such a deep dive into the history and terroir of Champagne, it helped having a non-expert like me ask the basic questions to help the book reach a larger audience.
One of the most striking things about this book is the collection of poster-sized vineyard maps, which are recreations of maps that have been out of print for decades. We also worked with an illustrator to create maps for each sub-region in the book, and the end result is one of the most stunning projects I've worked on. This book is the winner of the 2018 IACP Wine and Spirits Book Award and the 2017 André Simon Drink Book Award. Champagne Publication Date: Oct 10, 2017, with Ten Speed Press.
"This is a welcome, essential guide that succeeds in transporting our understanding of Champagne into the 21st century."
—Eric Asimov, New York Times
"I'm in awe of what Peter Liem has put together in his aptly named book, Champagne. There are enough facts, stories, details, and historical anecdotes here to keep anyone engaged, from the casual drinker to the champagne collector. This will be one of the definitive books on Champagne for many years to come."
—Daniel Humm, chef/co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, and Made Nice
"For Champagne lovers—and all wine lovers—here’s the book that changes everything. Peter Liem deftly tells the story of the real people and places that define one of the world’s most important wine regions. With impeccable scholarship and detail, he redefines Champagne as a living, breathing place, one in the midst of glorious transformation. This is sure to become an essential reference for one of the world’s most beloved wines."
—Jon Bonne, author of The New California Wine
"I've known Peter for twenty years and his commitment to wine education through his writing is unrivaled in the industry. This book is a culmination of his commentary on every vineyard he has walked, every glass he has raised, and every relationship he has cultivated since he moved to Champagne. This is not only an incredible reference book for the region but also a refreshingly beautiful tome."
—Rajat Parr, Sandhi Wines and author of Secrets of the Sommeliers
“Champagne is assuredly among the most important references to this captivating region. It is more than a tome for experts, however, and will prove an invaluable introduction to the curious novice as well. It delves satisfyingly into the back story, explaining thoroughly yet in a highly-readable fashion the reasons for the great diversity of styles that one finds in Champagne today. Liem tackles the big issues in the region with diplomacy and insight and leaves the reader with a deep appreciation for the complexity of champagne. Of particular note are his well-chosen appreciations of single cru and single vineyard wines in each sub-region, and his affectionate yet discerning profiles in the final section of the book. This is required reading for the dedicated fan and curious novice alike. Bravo!”
—Charles Curtis MW
"With Peter Liem’s book the literature of Champagne takes a leap into a new level of knowledge and understanding. Written in this author's transparent, delicate prose, the effect is like a lazy balloon ride over the whole Champagne landscape, all of its hills and vineyards, and the wonderful people who work them. Peter Liem is a judicious taster and a clear thinker, and I predict that we who love Champagne will wonder how we ever did without this book.”
—Terry Thiese, author and importer
"Liem has written a beautiful book, focusing on champagne not as a luxury tipple but as serious wine, expressive of the place where it is grown rather than the lifestyle of the person drinking it."
—Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post
"Get the flutes out: There's only one way to go about exploring this deep resource, and that's with a glass of bubbly in hand. It's complete with vintage vineyard maps, tips on serving and storage, and an in-depth look at the producers of the drink behind every engagement, birthday party and New Year's celebration."
—Abby Reisner, Tasting Table
Between May 2014 to June 2016, I worked with Desmond Tan, owner of the Burma Superstar restaurant group, to create a cookbook that looked at Burmese food through the lens of a San Francisco restaurant.
While I'm used to taking restaurant recipes and shrinking them down to fit the needs of a home kitchen, this project started out differently. For starters, the restaurant didn't have any of its recipes written down--in any kind of form. And then there was navigating through all of the different cooks, servers, and managers. On the first day on the job, I showed up at the Oakland location with a notepad and pen. The cooks thought I was the health inspector. But while talking with the cooks in the restaurants was satisfying work, it was the trips I took to Myanmar that really showed me what Burmese hospitality could look like.
In 2015, I traveled to Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, twice: once in the dry season, when papaya was everywhere, and once during the monsoon season, where the arid central plains of the country turned lush. Visiting places such as Mt Popa, Bagan, and the tea-growing area Namhsan will stay with me for the rest of my life. So will the incredibly complex history of a country that had been walled off for half a century. When we were working on this book, though, the country was hopeful for the future, running a truly democratic election that gave power to Aung San Suu Kyi's party. Today, it's hard to feel as optimistic while the Rohinga humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State shows no improvement. Still, we wrote this book in the spirit of hope, as well as also a tribute to the blend of Chinese-Burmese dishes that have made Burma Superstar a beloved San Francisco institution. Burma Superstar Publication Date: April 17, 2017, with Ten Speed Press.
For a list of food / eating recommendations in Myanmar, read Where to eat in Myanmar
Listen to our interview on Splendid Table and read about tea leaf salad here
Listen to my conversation with Steve Boss of KRUU here
See me demo how to make a weeknight Burmese-style stir-fry with Kat Sacks of Epicurious here
"Informative recipes and concise historical background set an educational yet approachable tone, while the occasional misty mountain vistas or bustling Burmese city street scenes (captured by John Lee) provide a reason to slow down and consider Burmese culture as a whole. Already, I'm eyeing the classic mohinga, a noodle soup thickened with toasted ground rice and mashed catfish, seasoned with ginger and lemongrass."
—Alex Testere, Saveur
"Back when I was a child, no one could even point to Burma on a map, much less understand my ties to the country and its culture. Even today, I can’t quite explain what makes the food so amazing. My best approximation is by describing it as somewhere between India and Thailand, which makes sense based on the country’s geography. Now I can just recommend this book that features the recipes of the much-beloved San Francisco restaurant Burma Superstar. Reading through the owner’s history is like reliving my own upbringing (we’re both ethnic Chinese by way of Burma) but really, it’s all about the delicious dishes." -—Diana Tsui, The Cut
"The rare restaurant edition you’ll actually want to cook from, starting with the tea-leaf salad."
—"This Season's Best Cookbooks," Bon Appetit
“The eponymous San Francisco restaurant is making quality Burmese food even more accessible than before with this insightful, thorough cookbook. Take mohinga, for example, the breakfast noodle soup you've probably never heard of that's considered Burma's national dish. And in between coconut chicken curry and tea leaf salad, you can read all about Myanmar's struggle for democracy, as well as the people and ingredients that make up this rich culture.”
—"Best New Cookbooks," Tasting Table
“Finally! In this beautiful book, Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy bring one of my favorite Bay Area restaurants, Burma Superstar, to the world. From the Tea Leaf Salad to Chicken Coconut Curry, the book demystifies the ingredients and cooking techniques of Myanmar, opening up the restaurant’s incredible flavors for everyone to enjoy. This is a book to read from cover to cover, and to cook from forever.”
—Amanda Haas, author of The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy
"Is Burmese the new Thai food? Plenty of San Franciscans (disciples of the city’s beloved Burma Superstar restaurant) would say yes. The hot spot’s first cookbook illuminates the spicy, savory food of Myanmar, from chili lamb to pork and pumpkin stew to the popular tea leaf salad."
—Rebecca Shapiro, PureWow
When Ayesha Curry wanted to write her first book, a few friends in the Bay Area suggested she talk to me. We met on a rare rainy day in a Bay Area Starbucks and chatted about the basic process of writing a book, and before long, I had agreed to help guide her through the process. It was that informal.
For the project, I worked with her in person on recipes and helped manage recipe testers and recipe edits to make an extremely tight deadline. The book covers everything from simple things to do with kids to how to make escovitch fish, a classic Jamaican dish from her grandmother. (We also included Q&As with family members, too.) The Seasoned Life Publication Date: September 20, 2016 with Little, Brown.
One of Essence's "Fantastic Gifts for the Foodie Friends in Your Life"
"The first time I met Ayesha Curry, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Ayesha recognizes the true power of food, how a home-cooked meal can bring a family together, and the importance of getting your kids in the kitchen early. Her collection of delicious and accessible recipes reflects who she is as a human--colorful, fresh, and full of flavor!"―Rachael Ray
"Spending an afternoon reading The Seasoned Life is like spending an afternoon with Ayesha at home. It's a relaxed, comfortable book that welcomes you in from the first page, reminding us why we cook: to bring the most important people in our lives together to create memories. Ayesha reassuringly reminds us that cooking doesn't have to be fussy or time-consuming. From her Brown Sugar Bacon with Fennel to her Roasted Potatoes with Lime, her recipes reflect her confidence and creativity in the kitchen. This book is a wonderful addition to any cook's library!"―Amanda Haas, Williams-Sonoma's Culinary Director and author of The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook and Cooking Light Real Family Food
"I've had the pleasure of cooking side by side with Ayesha, and this is a special collection of recipes. I have been impressed with her ability to put flavors together in order to create dishes that are bold, balanced, and flavorful. She cooks from the heart, and has created recipes that people can easily recreate at home for their families. The Seasoned Life is a beautiful collection of dishes that every family will be able to enjoy."―Michael Mina, author of Michael Mina: The Cookbook
"Ayesha Curry...has carved out a path of her own in the lifestyle and culinary world. [S]he has branded herself as the sports world's lifestyle maven, a Gwyneth Paltrow or a Chrissy Teigen of the NBA set. [S]tyles and flavors run the gamut, echoing Curry's own culinary backstory"―Eater
"The social media lightning rod and burgeoning businesswoman shares her tips for feeing your stomach and your soul in her new book."
―Bridgette Bartlett Royall, Essence
"The Seasoned Life... brings together favorite recipes, anecdotes, and a fun glimpse into the Curry family kitchen."―Cooking Light
"A chef on the rise.... we want to be her best friend"―Keziah Weir, Elle
"Relatable and beautiful, aspirational and real"―Ian A. Stewart, San Francisco Magazine
"A fresh and earnest energy.... keeps recipes relatively quick and easy for busy households"―Alison Neumer Lara, Booklist
I lived in Chicago for seven years near HotChocolate, but I never properly met Mindy Segal, the owner of the restaurant, until I was approached by her agent to work on this book. What I did know about Mindy is that she had long been famous in Chicago for her desserts--and her larger-than-life personality. She'd be the first to say that she has opinions.
But writing this book in 2014 allowed me to really get to know the pastry chef behind the stories. I also witnessed her creativity up close. I know myself well enough to know that if I have one great idea in a day, I'm happy. Mindy has 100. So I was there to capture them. I also gleaned practical tips, like creaming the butter before adding sugar to cut down the time it takes to get that perfect fluffy matrix of creamed sugar and butter. She also introduced me to this terrific gadget: the pastry roller. But the best part of this cookbook was walking away with shortbread recipes that always work, as well as a way to make never-let-you-down chocolate chip cookies. Cookie Love Publication Date: April 7, 2015, with Ten Speed Press.
"In the richly illustrated pages, Ms. Segal, a pastry chef and the owner of the HotChocolate restaurant in Chicago, reinvents everything from snickerdoodles to chocolate chippers to brownie crinkles, sharpening the flavors, enriching the textures and refining the techniques.—Melissa Clark, New York Times
"Smoky bacon candy bar cookies? Folgers Crystals with sour cream gianduja shortbread? Graham crackers and passion fruit whoopie cookies? This is not your grandma's bake sale! Pastry Chef Mindy Segal, proprietor of Chicago-based HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar, dares you to redefine your cookie repertoire with these cheeky, sometimes edgy riffs on the formerly humble cookie."—NPR.org
“Segal recommends using chocolate discs over chips, a trick which results in a beautiful layering affect, and a method I will employ in all future cookies, forever. Cookie Love is full of professional-grade tricks like this: mixing Folgers crystals or pretzel crumbs into shortbread, balancing the cherry filling in a fruit bar with kriek lambic, using goat butter in tea cakes to provide a unique tang. You could utilize these upgrades in your own favorite cookie recipes, although Segal’s versions are stout workhorses. My guess is you’ll prefer her versions.—Paula Forbes, Epicurious
“In her new book, Mindy Segal offers extraordinary tips on how to perfect one of her favorite things to bake: cookies.” —Ben Nims, Food & Wine
“Because we gotta tell you, the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie simply can’t compete with these homemade Milano cookies from one of our favorite cookbooks of the year.—Leite’s Culinaria
Our latest cookie obsession comes from the brain of Mindy Segal, who plays with nostalgic treats and turns them into something bigger, better and sweeter.—Tasting Table
“The range and variety of cookies is truly impressive, and it is what stood out when I first flipped through the book. The recipes are universally appealing—they are cookies after all. These are the kind of recipes that get me hyped up to get in the kitchen and bake.” —Tim Mazurek, Lottie+Doof
“NYC-based pastry chef Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar) calls Segal her ‘soul sister on all things sweet;’ one look inside Cookie Love is proof that Segal’s a sugar fiend. ‘I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten an entire package of Milanos in one sitting,’ she admits to Eater. ‘I’m not the only one though, right?’ She’s absolutely right.” —Daniela Galarza, Eater.com
“She can deliver it with a smile, or a frown, with an air of puzzlement, or a hint of generosity. It is a reassuring look for the author of a just-released cookie cookbook, because it says, even to someone as inexperienced with baking as myself: Look, if you can dress yourself, you can, with a smidge of patience and some common sense, bake a decent peanut butter thumbprint with strawberry lambic jam.”—Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune
“A decorated pastry chef and ‘cookie nerd’ shows us how to take our cookies to the next level. It helps to have a stand mixer and a candy thermometer if you want to bake your way through the book, but Segal provides plenty of useful tips to help improve even the basics.—Rebekah Denn, Seattle Times
“Although Segal’s sugary cravings change frequently, she has focused on revolutionizing the ordinary cookie for the last few years and shares her soft spot for these little sweet cakes through recipes that summarize her creativity as a pastry chef.”—Gillian Speiser, Broward/Palm Beach New Times
“Her father was a jazz musician, and they made frequent trips to Rick’s American Cafe to listen to the likes of Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria, which inevitably lead her to a life of improvisation. It’s not to say she doesn’t have strong core technique, as seen in “Cookie Love”, her first cookbook, chock-full of drop cookies, bars, sandwich cookies, shortbreads, thumbprints, spritz, and those twice baked, but it’s the Peanut Butter Peanut Brittle Cookies, Fleur de Sel Shortbread, Malted Milk Spritz, Peaches and Cream Thumbprints, Brownie Krinkles, Banilla Nillas, and motorcycle riding Best Friend Cookies, that best showcase Mindy’s riffs. —Michael Harlan Turkell, The Food Seen, Heritage Radio Network
“Chicago chef-restaurateur Mindy Segal is a self-proclaimed ‘cookie nerd,’ so the recipes inCookie Love (Ten Speed Press, $24.99) are so meticulous and detailed you may find them annoying. Or you can be happy these are recipes so painstakingly clear you can be sure they won’t fail.” —Linda Cicero, Miami Herald
“This joyfully written and magnanimously photographed cookbook is bursting with recipes that not only think outside the cookie box but are both approachable and engaging.”.—Garrett McCord, About.com
“There is a whole lot to love here. Not just this recipe, but the entire book. Peanut Brittle (which was also hugely popular on those nut farm outings), marshmallows, sandwich cookies, bars, and thumbprints.” —Shelly Peppel, Cookbooks 365
“These cookies looked like the cookies most of us bake at home. They aren’t perfect and the fact is, they don’t need to be.” —Dédé Wilson, Bakepedia.com
In 2013, Heidi Krahling asked me to help her write her second self-published cookbook. Since the first one focused on her Marin restaurant, Insalata's, the chef-owner wanted to put together a collection of recipes that represented her second restaurant, Marinita's, as well as favorite dishes that didn't make it into her first book.
Heidi had her restaurant team vetting the recipes, so I was solely responsible for drawing out those headnotes and restaurant stories that would make it feel like she was having a chat with the readers. I would drive to Marin and sit down with Heidi, asking questions about her view on food and how she finds crossover between Mediterranean and Latin American flavors. I also picked up some of her slang (on rookie cooks: junior mints. I did want to put it in the book, but Heidi wisely thought better of it.) We also talked through turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and the rest of the holiday madness (Insalata's is open on Thanksgiving Day. I have a feeling that she can't look at gravy the rest of the year because of all of the turkeys they cook for the restaurant and for take-out.)
One thing I discovered: Heidi makes some of the best salads in the Bay Area. It's not a secret in San Anselmo, where her regulars buy out the fattoush salad from the take-out counter every day. Insalata's and Marinita's Publication Date: October 2014, with Laura Parker Studio.
It wasn't too long after A16 Food + Wine came out that the restaurant's wine director, Shelley Lindgren, started talking to me about a second book with her other restaurant, SPQR. But a chef change put the plan on hold for a couple of years. Finally, in 2011, with Chef Matt Accarino, we went for it. The three of us, as well as family, friends, and photographer Sarah Remington, caravanned across northern and central Italy. We met a puppy named Lambrusco outside of Rome and witnessed a seafood auction at dawn in a town along the Adriatic coast. We also off-roaded in vineyards, got stuck in an epic traffic jam in Verona, and had lunch in the Friuli version of a man cave (it was a fishing hut, with vintage '70s pin-up girls on the wall). We also sampled countless glasses of wine with local foods to prove Shelley's favorite truism: what grows together, goest together. SPQR Modern Italian Food and Wine Publication Date October 16, 2012, with Ten Speed Press.
"Shelly Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino have composed a book filled with their inspirations based on Italian regional cuisine and wines. It gives us a powerful insight into what makes SPQR one of San Francisco’s favorite restaurants. It makes me wish I lived close by.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
“I am a staunch traditionalist when it comes to Italian cuisine, yet I love Matthew Accarrino’s modern Italian cooking at SPQR. His food is Italian in spirit but cooked in the region (paese) of California, using local ingredients, contemporary techniques, and infusing the food with soul and sophistication. Shelley Lindgren is my go-to goddess for Italian wine. A charming and delightful educator, she has extensive knowledge of Italian wine making and wine makers. But even more important, she seeks out little known wines from small regional producers. I learn and taste something new with every visit to SPQR.”
—Joyce Goldstein, chef, author, and culinary consultant
“Matthew brings a sense of elegance and refinement to Italian cooking that seems at once natural and yet revelatory. There is a humanistic element to the cooking at SPQR that in concert with Shelley’s wine service, creates a memorable and warm experience. I always look forward to returning.”
—Christopher Kostow, chef, The Restaurant at Meadowood
“How often anyone who unwraps SPQR will make Farro-Stuffed Quail with Chestnuts, Persimmons, and Dandelion Greens is open to debate, but this San Fran restaurant’s take on Italo-inspired California cooking will dazzle the right foodie on your list.” —Cooking Light for SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine
"This is the kind of cookbook that seems equally appropriate on the coffee table, nightstand, or kitchen counter. I loved curling up with it and learning about the eight historical Roman roads and these regions' rich agricultural and culinary traditions."—Emily Han, thekitchn.com
“With well-thought-out recipes and little known wine pairings, discover a perfect
balance of contemporary flavor and technique with a soulfulness that is respectful of tradition. Through Matthew’s passion and experience, SPQR will challenge you to become a better cook!”
—Rick Moonen, executive chef and owner of rm Seafood
The best reason to write a book with someone else is to gain exposure to new ideas. When I lived in Chicago, I approached Paul Virant, chef and owner of Vie and Vistro in the suburbs of Chicago, about working on a book with me about pickling and preserving. Paul was well-known locally for his canning prowess, and I wanted to document his take on preserving. The idea seemed to fit a cookbook perfectly, so I approached Aaron Wehner, then the editorial director at Ten Speed Press, with the idea. He bit, and Paul and I got to work.
The first half is filled with canning, fermenting, and otherwise making use of summer produce. The second half is composed of seasonal menus to show how to use all these jars once you have them. Paul and I even drove up to Wisconsin to take an acidified foods certification course to ensure we understood the whole avoiding botulism / keeping pH in the safe zone balance.
The book was meant to be canning from a chef's perspective, but it's also extremely approachable for home cooks. There are also a few gems in the book that have nothing to do with pickles, like Paul's version of Irish soda bread. (It's not really Irish soda bread at all, and that might be why it's so good.) Truth be told, my mom says this is the best book I've worked on. The Preservation Kitchen Publication Date April 3, 2012, with Ten Speed Press.
“Advanced, intelligent pickling recipes from the starred Chicago chef, plus inspiring seasonal menus in which to use them.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Virant is a fine coach for cooks accustomed to packing strawberry freezer jam into upping their game and inspiring those interested in keeping local flavors on their table year-round.”
—The Chicago Tribune
Virant offers seasonally inspired menus—beef chili with pickled candy onions, chased by his wife’s chocolate chip cookies, for a wintry warmer; grilled and pickled summer squash salad and summer berry soda floats for a breezy supper—that make use of the fruits (and veggies) of their labors. Geared toward ambitious home cooks and professional chefs, these recipes could inspire the rest of us to fit into one of those categories.
—Carly Boers, Chicago Magazine
“With clear instructions and a full seasonal spectrum of inspiration, this has already made its way to the top of my stack of spring cookbooks.”
—KQED Bay Area Bites
"The Preservation Kitchen makes us want to can everything."
"If any book could inspire me to can, it's this one...To flip through this book is to await every turn of the season and every visit to the farmer's market to come."
—Time Out Chicago
“Virant's suggestions for cooking with preserved foods are helpful for both beginning and experienced cooks, and provided menu plans focus on making the preserves shine. A unique guide to elevating pickling and preserves, recommended for adventurous cooks and eaters.”
“Paul Virant takes us on a delicious journey in The Preservation Kitchen, to unexpected spots that ring of traditions long forgotten, to exciting places that our palates want to savor for hours. Paul’s Fried Chicken with Cherry Bomb Pepper Sausage Gravy and Drop Biscuits is soul food for a new millennium and his Beer Jam and Ramp Sauerkraut may just show up on my restaurant menus.”
—Rick Bayless, Chef/Owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, Chicago
“Along with being a great technical guide to preserving fruits and vegetables, The Preservation Kitchen gives the reader a first-hand look at Paul’s exceptional talent and culinary philosophy. By sharing his immense knowledge and passion, he leads the way as a great craftsman and mentor for future generations of food professionals and enthusiasts. Paul’s zest for life and great food is contagious!”
—Jacquy Pfeiffer, Founder of The French Pastry School
“Paul Virant’s approach to the modern kitchen extends seasonal boundaries far beyond nature’s reach. By suspending local treasures in time, and incorporating them creatively, he has redefined American cooking as we know it. Truly a jar star!”
—Paul Kahan, Executive Chef/Partner of Blackbird, avec, The Publican, and Big Star
A lot has changed since this book came out in 2008. (We were reviewed in Gourmet. Gourmet!)
Still, A16 Food+Wine will always have a special place in my life. It came out three years after I had left my job at A16 as a line cook to start a career writing about food. The transition wasn't easy (work in a kitchen long enough and you forget how to spell anything), and I had to learn how to write cookbook-worthy recipes on the job from a distance, since I was living in Chicago at the time.
Apart from Gourmet, the book was also praised in O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Cucina Italiana, and Publishers Weekly. Food & Wine included recipes from the book in its 2009 Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes. It was also a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller.
That this book succeeded to garner national praise was amazing to me, especially since we started with modest expectations, cobbling together a proposal and passing it straight to Ten Speed Press without an agent. What's more important is the imprint the book had on my style of cooking. The meatball recipes from this cookbook are still my favorites (both the classic pork+beef version and the chicken version), and I will never pass down a glass of Fiano from Campania. A16 Food + Wine Publication Date: September 1, 2008, with Ten Speed Press.
IACP International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards Book of the Year and First Book/Julia Child Award Category Winner, 2009.
"One of San Francisco's most popular new restaurants, A16 is devoted to southern Italy's rustic cuisine and robust wines. This book, by its executive chef and wine director, begins by exploring eight grape-growing areas in the south, from the region's heart in Campania to mountainous Abruzzo and the isolated island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. With a dizzying number of wines produced in each area, the focus is wisely kept on the grapes themselves, with eloquent essays on the history and qualities of both classic and less familiar red and white varietals, and food pairing tips as well as recommendations of wine producers. The second half presents some of those foods—peasant cooking like pasta with chunky, chili-spiked sauce, a rabbit mixed grill and, of course, Neapolitan pizza, with A16's Bay Area location showing in occasional ingredient twists like the tangerines in an arugula salad and the zesty punch of preserved Meyer lemon in a grilled shrimp dish. Executive chef Appleman's expertise is reflected in a chapter on the pig, including recipes for making pancetta and sausages, which are rather advanced for casual home cooks but, like the rest of the book, make fascinating reading for lovers of Italian food and wine."-–Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
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"Savvy diners focus on the kitchen's soulful renditions of dishes from Campania, the region surrounding Naples, and a wine list that brims with discoveries from southern Italy. Sure, have a bit of pizza, but save room for dishes such as roasted porcini with green garlic, ricotta gnocchi with squash blossoms, or sweet pea ravioli with braised pork, pecorino, and black pepper."–Wine Spectator
"This is a cook's cookbook; it deserves a quiet season filled with long chilly nights, the ideal time to enjoy its gutsy dishes." –Gourmet
"A book you really can cook and learn from." –Fine Cooking
"A testament to the rustic fare and a convivial atmosphere of the restaurant." –San Francisco Chronicle
“A16: Food + Wine is the best of the bunch. This debut book … strikes a satisfying balance between simple and complex.”–Amy Scattergood, LA Times