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Gorgeous New Books to Inspire All Cooks

Written By Scott Joseph On October 5, 2012

Two new books — so much more than just cookbooks — from local authors and restaurateurs are perfect gifts for food lovers. Or for yourself.

Pig.coverOK, let’s get this holiday gift buying chore out of the way right now. Yes, it’s only October, but the season will be upon us faster than you can say eggnog, and I don’t know about you but I’d rather spend my time going to holiday parties drinking, um, eggnog than trudging around looking for last minute gifts.

The good news is that if you have someone on your list who appreciates good food (and if you’ve got someone on your list who doesn’t, why on earth are they on your list?) there are some wonderful options in the form of gorgeous new books.

Among them is the “The Ravenous Pig, Seasons of Florida,” written by the popular restaurant’s chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis, with Bob Morris. The book is a publication of Morris’s Story Farm. And when I first saw proofs of the book, I knew without even looking that the photography was by Gary Bogdon and the design by Santa Bogdon.

The photos are just stunning — photographing food is not an easy thing, even for professional photographers, and even when the food you’re starting with is the great dishes from the Pig. And Santa, Gary’s wife, has gathered the photos the text and the recipes into a beautiful package that is a joy to read or just thumb through — even if you have no intention of taking it into your kitchen. I worked with the Bogdon’s — Morris, too — when we were all on the staff at the Orlando Sentinel, so I’m not surprised by the quality of the work here.

And by the way, if you do intend to take the book into the kitchen and have a go at some of the dishes — I might try the lamb burgers with cucumber-olive relish myself — you should know that all of the recipes have been tested by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand and Dawn Viola, so you can cook knowing the process has been fully vetted. (You’d be surprised at how many celebrity chef and restaurant cookbooks aren’t tested; or maybe you wouldn’t be.)

“The Ravenous Pig, Seasons of Florida” is $35 and available at the restaurant, 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, or on its website.

The of the same people are involved in producing the other book I’m recommending: “Field F2F-coverto Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans” (University Press of Florida; $28). It was written by Pam Brandon — one of our wonderfully delicious Divas of Dish — Katie Farmand and Heather McPherson. Gary Bogdon did the photos for this one, too, with design layout by Jason Farmand. 

“Locally sourced” are words you see a lot lately on menus. In this book, the authors take you to the farms and into the fields of the people growing all the wonderful Florida produce that you’re eating in the area’s best restaurants. And here, too, you’ll be introduced to the chefs who make using the best ingredients in their dishes a priority. You’ll find recipes from Kathleen Blake of Rusty Spoon, Hari Pulapaka of Cress, Kevin Fonzo of K, and Brandon McGlamery of Luma on Park, as well as other chefs with restaurants throughout the state.

“Field to Feast” is available at Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Amazon, or through the fieldtofiestfl.com website, where you can order a copy signed by the authors. You can also find a list of dates where the authors will be signing copies and doing cooking demonstrations. If you’re planning to attend the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (presented by Chase), consider going out on Oct. 23, when the authors will do a cooking demonstration with chef Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert’s, or Nov. 11, when they’ll take the stage with Fonzo.{jcomments on}

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