What inspired you to write your book?
I am a firefighter and chef. I come from a long line of chefs, although we did not call them that, and certainly they never used a cookbook as we know it. But my Southern heritage, which emphasizes a love of a place as well as food, is deeply ingrained in me. And seeing that same pride of location that Spokane has, I was drawn to the food. Capturing that pride and that food was a natural extension. Whether the book is successful or not is not the concern as much as me saying “Thank you” for giving me a home here that I can identify with.
About your Book:
From the hidden treasures tucked away in the Garland district to sweeping panoramic views overlooking Spokane Falls, these are the sights, tastes and stories of our favorite restaurants and their recipes. An homage in words and pictures, Signature Tastes of Spokane captures the culinary essence of the Lilac City.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
Agave Latin Bistro-Northwest Paella
Agave Latin Bistro offers the finest in gourmet Latin cuisine. We are located at the corner of Lincoln and Sprague in downtown Spokane. Agave’s cuisine is spearheaded by Chef Ian Wingate, who offers an ever-changing menu of fantastic gourmet Latin fare and a late night tapas menu. Add to that a wide variety of top-shelf tequilas and liquors and a wine list rivaling any in town, and you’ve got the latest and greatest addition to Spokane’s downtown culinary experience.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz. diced chicken
2 links of chorizo, sliced
½ lb. manila clams
4 oz. lobster meat, diced
¼ C. sliced calamari
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp shallots, minced
1¼ C. diced yellow onion
½ tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp white wine
¼ C. chicken stock
4 C. cooked saffron risotto
¼ C. diced red bell pepper
¼ C. diced tomato
¼ C. sliced asparagus
1/3 C. fresh grated parmesan cheese
pepper, to taste
1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the chicken and chorizo and sear, about 1 minute.
2. Add the clams, lobster, prawns, calamari, garlic, shallots, and onion and sauté until onions are soft, then add the lemon juice, white wine, and chicken stock.
3. Turn heat to medium, add the cooked saffron risotto and simmer for 1 minute.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir, cover with a lid for 2 minutes, or until clams open. Serve family style.
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
Oh this is infinitely easier, although not as fast (believe or not). You start with a theme, which helps define your borders. And then you just plug away. Tweaking recipes, the right photography, etc. is all a part of it, and that takes time. But at least you know when you have it done, and done well. Other genres, an author is taking such a bigger risk in investing themselves into a novel, that simply no one might like. Or worse, they don’t like and it becomes personal. No, thank you. I’ll take cookbooks.
What advice would you give to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
Do it. Start right now…don’t wait. Pick a theme to guide you. Start collecting recipes. Start picking layouts. Just start. You will learn the rest “on-the-job”. I am now a best-selling author of 13 books and growing. And all because I simply started. If you have questions, email me, call me, whatever…I will do what I can to help.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I decided to self-publish the first book, because I am impatient. All others after that we published as a bona-fide publisher. And I wanted the control of it, good or bad. So I went through Lightning Source. Now, what I did do in the beginning was lay a foundation for a publishing company; hence I could hopefully repeat the success I expected on that first book. Now, we have a dozen titles, with several authors we are publishing other than myself. I want to give a chance to other authors, who have the passion to see this through.
Steven W. Siler is a firefighter-cum-chef serving both in the Deep South and the Pacific Northwest. He is the best-selling author of the Signature Tastes cookbook series. Long marinated in the epicurean heritage of the Deep South, Steven has spent over 20 years in the much-vaulted restaurant industry from BOH to FOH to chef. In addition, he has served as an editor and contributing writer for several food publications. When not trying to shove food down his fellow firefighters’ gullets, he enjoys sailing and sampling the finest of scotches and wines, and has an irrational love affair with opera.
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