James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi follows up his acclaimed memoir Notes from aYoung Black Chef, which told the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age, with his debut cookbook, MY AMERICA: Recipes from a Young Black Chef, a deeply personal tribute to the food handed down through his family and a celebration of Black culinary traditions.
In MY AMERICA, Onwuachi shares the foods and flavors that have shaped his culinary journey, with recipes and traditions spanning from Nigeria to the Caribbean, the American South to the Bronx, and beyond.
Training in French culinary technique at the Culinary Institute of America and working in the kitchens of premier fine-dining restaurants, Onwuachi began to question whose stories he was telling with the food he cooked. Opening his own restaurants, he learned to delve further into the diasporic food traditions of his ancestry, and he realized how deep and intertwined these roots are. Consulting with family members on their home recipes and culinary knowledge, his ideas about who his people are—and where his place is—expanded. Interwoven throughout the book are stories of Onwuachi’s travels, illuminating the connections between food and place, and food and culture.
Through stories and recipes, the book brings to life the places and foods that have shaped him: the Bronx, where he grew up, a borough containing multitudes—Jamaicans, West Indians, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, and more; the American South and his mother’s cooking—the food of Louisiana and Texas, and the story of the Great Migration; Nigeria, where he spent time as a young boy, learning new flavors and ingredients, and an approach to food with close ties to the earth (raising chickens, growing yams). MY AMERICA collects the dishes of Onwuachi’s America, foods that display the true diversity of American food—from the essentials of the Afro-Caribbean pantry to Nigerian Jollof, Puerto Rican Red Bean Sofrito and Trinidadian Channa (Chickpea) Curry to Jambalaya, Baby Back Ribs, and Red Velvet Cake.
About the Authors:
KWAME ONWUACHI is a James Beard Award-winning chef, who was raised in the Bronx, Nigeria, and Louisiana. A former contest and now a recurring judge on Top Chef, Onwuachi has been named Esquire’s Chef of the Year, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and opened five restaurants before turning thirty. Onwuachi is the author of Notes from a Young Black Chef. Follow Kwame on Instagram @chefkwameonwuachi.
JOSHUA DAVID STEIN is a Brooklyn-based author and journalist. He is the co-author of Notes from a Young Black Chef, with Kwame Onwuachi; Il Buco: Stories and Recipes with Donna Lennard; and The Nom Wah Cookbook with Wilson Tang and the author of Cooking for Your Kids. Follow Joshua on Instagram @joshuadavidstein.
MY AMERICA Recipes from a Young Black Chef By Kwame Onwuachi and Alfred A. Knopf