The Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook

The Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook

Running Press (September 2009)

In the spring of 2008 I was approached by Chris and Idie Hastings of the celebrated Hot and Hot Fish Club restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama to help them weave their personal stories into a cookbook. From the influences of their respective childhoods, their earliest meeting as a couple and young lives together in the Bay Area to more recent days raising kids and running a restaurant in Alabama while training hunting dogs, foraging for food, and celebrating with friends and family at home and at at their restaurant tables. The Hastings rich lives are documented in this book in the essays peppered among the many fabulous recipes conceived of by this two-time James Beard Nominee for "Best Chef in the South" and recent Iron Chef contestant. We met at the restaurant on a regular basis to talk about the couples' inspiration for the restaurant and its dishes, meet with purveyors, and watch the cooks in action. I traveled with the chef to the field, an icy limestone spring turned wild watercress garden, and the kitchen to watch him cooking and even crafting a turkey call from the wing bones of a wild turkey bagged on a recent hunt. The amazing photographs which appear in the book were nominated for an IACP Award and were shot by my friend and colleague, the truly gifted photographer Jason Wallis.