A BON APPETIT BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • What is American food? In his first cookbook, the acclaimed author of Notes from a Young Black Chef shares the dishes of his America; dishes that show the true diversity of American food. Onwauachi is “the most important chef in America” (San Francisco Chronicle) and chef of Tatiana, the New York Times #1 Restaurant in New York City 2023.
“A must-have for anyone who wants to be a better cook. Each recipe is an insight into Kwame’s family, travels, and time spent in some of the best kitchens in the world.” —David Chang
Featuring more than 125 recipes, My America is a celebration of the food of the African Diaspora, as handed down through Onwuachi’s own family history, spanning Nigeria to the Caribbean, the South to the Bronx, and beyond. From Nigerian Jollof, Puerto Rican Red Bean Sofrito, and Trinidadian Channa (Chickpea) Curry to Jambalaya, Baby Back Ribs, and Red Velvet Cake, these are global home recipes that represent the best of the patchwork that is American cuisine.
Interwoven throughout the book are stories of Onwuachi’s travels, illuminating the connections between food and place, and food and culture. The result is a deeply personal tribute to the food of “a land that belongs to you and yours and to me and mine.”
Chef Onwuachi (Notes from a Young Black Chef) brings his ancestry and formal training at the Culinary Institute of America to bear on the flavors of Nigeria, Louisiana, and the Bronx in this inspiring celebration of soul food recipes. He foreshadows the fiery dishes to come with an opening section of spice blends that includes jerk powder with ground habanero, and a "peppa" sauce that calls for 50 Scotch bonnet peppers per quart. Each recipe lists its country of origin, making for intriguing comparisons. A Nigerian chicken in red stew made with a spicy tomato sauce, for instance, appears next to a Jamaican brown stew chicken sweetened with a heavily caramelized sugar sauce, while the amaranth greens in a Jamaican callaloo contrast with the taro leaves of Trinidadian callaloo that are simmered in unsweetened coconut cream. A seafood chapter focuses on the American South, with such familiar cajun and creole dishes as crawfish pie, shrimp étouffée, and seafood gumbo. Meat lovers, meanwhile, can settle back with smothered pork chops, try their hand at homemade Jamaican beef patties, or indulge in a burger inspired by the Big Mac but upgraded via a blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck, then topped with jerk bacon. One man's unique gastronomic journey proves universally appealing in this hearty collection.