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I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef

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by Vishwesh Bhatt
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Born and raised in Gujarat, India, Vishwesh Bhatt received his formal culinary training in the US, inspired in many ways by the food he ate in Oxford, Mississippi, particularly in John Currence's City Grocery. In 2009, he and Currence opened Snackbar, where Bhatt's particular culinary insights are showcased.

As the book's title suggests, Bhatt is deeply determined that he is a Southern chef, If he adds to Southern traditions by drawing on his heritage and early life, it all seems to be to the good, judging by the appealing array of recipes presented here. Among them:

  • sauteed lima beans with mustard seeds and ginger
  • okra chaat: flash-fried strips of okra dressed with cumin, mint, dried mango powder, ginger, and cayenne
  • corn korma, an alternative to creamed corn
  • sweet potato and peanut salad
  • chicken salad with mango chutney and pistachios

This list favors dishes with clear Indian-Southern intersections, but Bhatt also finds inspiration in other immigrant traditions within the South, including Greek, Turkish, and Caribbean.

He is a generous writer, recognizing inspirations provided by professional colleagues and home cooks, showing a wide awareness of the culinary history of the South, and inviting cooks to personalize their own approach to his recipes. 

Very satisfying.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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