The Latin Road Home

The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru (Lake Isle Press, $35.00, October 2012, Hardcover), the second cookbook from Chef Jose Garces.  The Latin Road Home is at once a cookbook, a travelogue and a memoir, offering a fascinating and personal look back at the food traditions that have shaped the life and cooking of Chef Garces, from his family’s ancestral home in Ecuador to his ongoing work as an award-winning chef and restaurateur across the USA.

“This book is a deeply personal project for me: it allows me to trace the cultures and cuisines that have shaped me, both personally and professionally,” says Chef Garces, whose restaurants serve Andalusian and Basque tapas, modern Mexican street food and more.  “Throughout my career, I have built on what I know and used it to explore new and different places, and this book traces that journey – and with it, my life to this point.”

The Latin Road Home chronologically tells the story of Chef Garces’ food journey.  Each chapter is dedicated to a place that greatly influenced his style, beginning in Ecuador with traditional recipes of his childhood which he prepared alongside his mother and grandmother growing up in the family kitchen.  He takes us to Spain where he studied after graduating culinary school then to Cuba (the birthplace of his wife, Dr. Beatriz Garces, and her family) where his professional and personal paths intersect.  Next it’s on to Mexico, the inspiration for one of his most lively and popular restaurant concepts, and finally Peru, a place he considers a gastronomic capital that is new and comforting all at once. 

For each country, Chef Garces writes four dinner menus highlighting his favorite dishes to prepare and serve, which includes a larger menu, perfect for celebrations, that feature a cocktail and multiple courses as well as a dessert – ideal for when cooking is part of the party. In addition, he highlights his “essentials” from each destination, writing recipes for favorites such as quesadillas, bacalao, café cubano, pozole and papas rellenas.  Chef Garces brings each country to life through more than 100 vibrant recipes accompanied by vivid food and travel photos, all contextualized by his own candid memories, providing virtually a complete immersion that celebrates the journey.  Traditional plates from each country are featured, making this ideal for anyone who has ever wanted to learn more about contemporary Latin cooking around the world. Instant-classic recipes include:  EMPANADAS (Ecuador); FEDUA DE MARSICOS, WHICH IS THIS (Spain); SCALLOPS WITH OXTAIL (Cuba); CHILANGO HURACHE (Mexico); and CHAUFA (Peru). 

The book has already received some praise from two of the nation’s top chefs.  Spanish native Chef José Andrés says, “With this book, home cooks can join Jose, one of America’s most exciting chefs, on his journey back and forth across the Atlantic, cooking some of the best dishes from the Old World and New.”  Fellow Philadelphia restaurateur and master of Japanese cuisine Chef Masaharu Morimoto adds, “The Latin Road Home is Chef Garces’ passionate, person introduction to Latin cuisine. His love of unpretentious home cooking and his superb culinary techniques are beautifully integrated in each recipe.”

To order a copy of The Latin Road Home, on Amazon, click here.

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