Fall Books


My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
By Norman Van Aken and Justin Van Aken
Kyle Books, November
Hardcover; $29.95

Norman Van Aken is one of Florida’s most celebrated chefs, with restaurants in Miami and Orlando. His new cookbook, My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, is chef Van Aken’s love letter to Key West, where he first found the passion to cook. Co-written with his son, chef Justin Van Aken, My Key West Kitchen tells the story of Key West’s fascinating culinary history and shows how the flavors of the Old South, Cuba and the Bahamas intermingle on local menus: Sunshine’s key lime pies, cayo hueso cornbread and Key West international conch fritters are just a few of the classics featured. Follow the Van Akens as they stroll through the streets of Key West, reminiscing and re-creating dishes from “little joints,” established restaurants and the kitchens of friends and family, past and present.

Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida’s Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans
By Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson
University Press of Florida, October
Hardcover; $29.95

It’s often overlooked that Florida has more to offer than seafood and citrus—name an ingredient and you’re likely to find it here. Edible Orlando’s Pam Brandon and Katie Farmand teamed up with the Orlando Sentinel’s Heather McPherson and traveled the state, from the Panhandle to the Everglades, to highlight some of the state’s outstanding farmers, chefs and food artisans. In Field to Feast, Brandon, Farmand and McPherson share stories from small family farms to hundred-year-old ranches, goat farmers and beekeepers, and award-winning chefs. They highlight the profiles with recipes such as a pulled pork banh mi, a grown-up grilled cheese with fig jam and escarole and Reda Larson’s divine peanut butter pie. It’s a delicious celebration of Florida food and cooking that will lead you from the kitchen to the farmers’ market and home again.

The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida
By James and Julie Petrakis
Story Farm, September
Hardcover; $35

From chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis of Winter Park’s celebrated restaurant comes The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida, a beautiful cookbook that gives a peek behind the scenes of the busy kitchen. The Petrakises share the secrets behind some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, such as their Gruyère biscuits, steak frites and shrimp and grits, and sweets like pigtails with chocolate espresso sauce. Seasonal favorites include Southern oysters Rockefeller, Florida fish stew and roasted red snapper with black-eyed pea and hominy stew.

Seasons of Florida also sheds light on the chefs’ philosophy about food, with vignettes showcasing their seasonal, handmade artisanal dishes such as fresh pasta, house-made charcuterie and made-from-scratch pastries. Seasons of Florida is an essential addition to the library of diehard food lovers and dedicated home chefs.