Chef Chris Shepherd celebrates his cookbook, 'Cook Like a Local.' (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Krystle Gibbs, Rhonda Walsh, Beth Shaffer, Rian Kopycinski (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Underbelly Hospitality culinary director Nick Fine who oversaw preparation of recipes from the cookbook (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Claudia Casbarian, 'Cook Like a Local' photographerJulie Soefer, Amanda Medsger (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Korean Braised Goat Dumplings, the recipe in the cookbook (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Faith Webber, Claire Johnson, Adam Wade, Daniel Wade (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Kenny Trinh, Cindy Dang (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Kyle & Maygan Close (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Megan Larche Dominick, Dan Knechtges (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Dr. Ashley Amsbaugh (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Alba Huerta, Lindsey Brown (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Kiley Swonke, April Salazar (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Franceso Conti & Mandy Trichell (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Laurence & Noi Allen (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Lauren Levicki Courville, Kyle Courville (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Luke and Sheila Billiot (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Lindsey James-West, Sarah Harold, Lisa Ferrara, Kellie Willman, Helen Tso (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Jim Shepherd, Chris Shepherd, Georgia Shepherd, Lindsey Brown (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Amanda and Chad LeMaire (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Mendocino Farms' Lee Kociela, Chris Shepherd (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Hannah Quillin, Joshua Kinninger, Lyndsey Kinninger, Ronnie Quillin (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Phuong Nguyen, Allison Speer (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Richard & Mary Beth Mason (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Suzanne Kolb, Maura Kolb (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Grilled herb-marinated chicken (Photo by 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.