Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef

Abrams. Oct. 2019. 288p. photos. index. ISBN 9781419738029. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781683356790. COOKING
In this memoir by celebrity chef Sánchez (Simple Food, Big Flavor), the author shares stories about his early years living with his mother, Zarela Martinez-Gabilondo, a celebrated chef-restaurateur in her own right. Following in Zarela’s footsteps, Sánchez knew at a young age that he wanted to be a chef. After getting into some trouble, he was sent to New Orleans for a summer, where he learned the basics and grunt work of cooking in the kitchen of famed chef Paul Prudhomme. Through this experience, Sánchez fell in love with cooking and started out in the kitchens of some of New York’s famed restaurants. Sánchez credits many of the chefs and restaurateurs of these establishments with influencing his culinary style and career. He explains the ups and downs of trying to open a successful restaurant while also trying to sustain personal relationships. Some of the triumphs touched on include moving to New Orleans to open his restaurant, Johnny Sánchez. In addition, the book contains several delicious recipes, including one for seafood étouffée.
VERDICT Highly recommended for foodies and memoir aficionados.

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