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Foodie Events / Restaurants

Houston’s Own Celebrity Chef Turns His Book Release Into a True Bayou City Bash

Chris Shepherd Doesn't Believe in Ordinary Cookbooks

BY // 09.09.19
photography Daniel Ortiz

As if chef and restaurant entrepreneur Chris Shepherd wasn’t already a Houston celebrity, his recent book signing confirmed his reign as the city’s leading culinary luminary. More than 400 Shepherd enthusiasts poured into his  joined-at-the-hip hot spots — the Georgia James steakhouse and the beer bar Hay Merchant — to nail an autographed copy of his Cook Like a Local.

The party coincided with publisher Clarkson Potter’s release of the tome featuring 120 recipes garnered from the tapestry of the city’s vast diversity. The cookbook, one reviewer noted, “is a Houston-proud road map to the Korean, Vietnamese, Indian and Mexican flavors that inspired Shepherd’s journey as a chef.”

As Shepherd frequently says, “Cooking local is more than just the ingredients of a place. It’s also the people of a place.”

A soupcon of the culinary riches featured in Cook Like a Local whetted guests appetites as the Underbelly Hospitality team served their favorite dishes. Among the tasty offerings were Korean Braised Goat and Dumplings, Masala Chicken Wings (the cover dish), Crispy Ham Ribs with Sriracha Glaze, Grilled Herb-Marinated Chicken and Green Papaya Salad and the desserts —vinegar pie and sticky rice fried pie.

In addition to celebrating publication of the James Beard Award-winner’s first cookbook, the party enjoyed an altruistic theme as well. Lee Kociela, Texas director of Mendocino Farms, presented Shepherd with a check for $8,816 for Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation, which supports restaurant industry professionals in crisis. The proceeds from Chris Shepherd’s Bacon Sausage Sandwich raised about $4,000, and that amount was matched by Mendocino Farms owners Ellen Chen and Mario del Paro.

Among the many Houstonians featured in the cookbook and making the foodie-heavy scene included Jacklyn Pham of Saigon Pagolac, Cindy Dang of Huynh, and Laurence and Noi Allen, formerly of Asia Market. The book’s photographer Julie Soefer attended along with her assistant Claudia Casbarian and cookbook prop stylist Amanda Medsger.

PC Seen: Julep owner Alba Huerta, Southern Smoke board member Petter Pettersen and wife Mari Mena, publicist Lindsey Brown, Cultured Heat in The Heights’ Francesco Conti and Mandy Trichell, Dress for Success president Lauren Levicki Courville and Kyle Courville, Dr. Ashley Amsbaugh, Amanda and Chad LeMaire, Kimberly Park, Kenny Trinh, and Cindy Dang.

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