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 Seattle 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 Belltown to sweeping panoramic views overlooking the Puget Sound, these are sights, tastes and stories of our favorite places. This is a collection of over 140 restaurant recipes that define the city, from Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie to Local 360’s famous fried chicken. An homage in words and pictures, Signature Tastes of Seattle captures the culinary essence of the Emerald City.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
BEECHER’S ‘WORLD’S BEST’ MAC AND CHEESE
SERVES 4 AS A SIDE DISH
6 ounces penne pasta
2 cups Beecher’s Flagship Sauce (recipe follows)
1 ounce cheddar, grated ( 1/4 cup)
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated ( 1/4 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil or butter an 8-inch baking dish.
Cook the penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.
Combine cooked pasta and Flagship Sauce in a medium bowl and mix carefully but thoroughly. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses and then the chile powder. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: If you double the recipe to make a main dish, bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan for 30 minutes.
BEECHER’S FLAGSHIP CHEESE SAUCE
MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
14 ounces semihard cheese, such as Beecher’s Flagship, grated (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 ounces grated semisoft cheese, such as Beecher’s Just Jack
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chile powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to three days.
NOTE: A single batch of sauce makes enough for a double recipe of macaroni and cheese.
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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