Chris Shepherd - COOK LIKE A LOCAL

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 6:30pm
2421 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

Chris Shepherd, James Beard Award–winning chef of Houston’s Underbelly Hospitality, is a champion of the city’s incredibly diverse immigrant cuisines. In his restaurants, he calls out the names of the cooks—Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, and others—who have inspired him.  In his anticipated book, Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World, he teaches home cooks how to work with those flavors and cultures with respect and creativity, and he brings readers along to meet, learn from, and cook with the people who have taught and mentored him.

After culinary school and years of working his way up the ranks in fine-dining restaurants, Shepherd moved to Houston and quickly realized there was much more to the local cuisine of the city than steakhouses. A cook with insatiable curiosity, he began spending his days off at Houston’s Korean grocery stores, Vietnamese noodle shops, Indian kitchens, and Chinese mom-and-pops building lasting relationships with everyone from the servers and bussers to the owners and learning just how truly diverse the cuisine of Houston of is—and that everyone has a story to tell. His food, incorporating elements of all of these cuisines, tells the story of the city, and country, in which he lives.

Chapters are organized around six key ingredients: Fish Sauce, Chiles, Soy, Rice, Spices, and Corn. They function as master classes for any home cook who wants to bring new flavors into their cooking. Recipes include signatures from Shepherd’s restaurant that have been inspired by his experiences and connections to each of the regional cuisines of Houston, ranging from Pork Riblets in Fish Sauce Caramel and Cantaloupe-Habanero Gazpacho to Sticky Rice Hand Pies and Fried Chicken Tamales.

In Cook Like a Local, Shepherd shares 120 recipes and 100 beautiful images, as well as how he learned to connect and share and truly cross cultures with a sense of generosity and respect, and how we can all learn to make not just better food, but a better community, one meal at a time.

CHRIS SHEPHERD, a Midwest-raised, James Beard Award–winning chef has helped change the landscape of the Houston culinary scene since opening Underbelly in 2012. He built the restaurant to support the Houston food community and its suppliers by buying local and drawing inspiration from the people and cultures that live in the city. Thanks to Chris’s vision and passion, Underbelly was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit and Esquire, and was named one of thirty-eight essential restaurants in America by Eater. Chris was named one of the ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2013 and was awarded the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. In 2017, Chris opened One Fifth, a five-year restaurant project that changes concepts every year. He closed Underbelly in March 2018 to convert the building into Georgia James, his take on a steakhouse. He also opened UB Preserv as his culinary interpretation of Houston’s evolution. He continues to tell the story of Houston food, but without limitations of locality and with whole animal butchery. He formed Underbelly Hospitality in 2018 to preserve the ethos of Underbelly—learning about diverse cultures through food. In 2019, all three restaurants—UB Preserv, One Fifth Mediterranean, and Georgia James—nabbed the number one spot on Texas Monthly’s list of the Best New Restaurants in Texas. He was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2019. Chris’s foundation, Southern Smoke, has donated more than $1.3 million to the National MS Society, in honor of his friend who lives with multiple sclerosis, and to those in the food and beverage industry in crisis. 

KAITLYN GOALEN is a writer, cook, and editor and cofounder of Short Stack Editions. Previously, she was the editor of and has cowritten several cookbooks, including Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner with chef Ashley Christensen and The Short Stack Cookbook with Nick Fauchald.

Staff Pick Badge
Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524761264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - September 3rd, 2019