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Celebrity chef signs books, answers questions at Hillsdale Food Front

Q: What made you want to come to Hillsdale Food Front, specifically?

A: I used to cook in Oregon. I worked here for a few years. When the opportunity came around to come to the Northwest to sell my book, I worked with co-ops around the country to ask if I could sell my book to do a book signing. And so everyone decided that the Food Front Coop in Hillsdale was going to be a really great choice because there were so many awesome people here. I kind of came on their invitation.by: DREW DAKESSIAN - Chef Kevin Gillespie discusses his new book, 'Fire in My Belly.'

Q: Tell me what the book is about.

A: The book is a collection of recipes as well as a collection of stories. It’s kind of about my approach to food, the way I believe food changes communities; it changes people. It’s just kind of a broad selection that’s meant for home cooks to help them learn to get excited about cooking food again.

Q: Why should people read it?

A: I think that it’s a wonderful book to read because it has so many amazing stories about both growing up in the South for me, but also my relationship with food, how I learned more about it when I moved to the Northwest, and how I’ve sort of tried to carry on professionally and back in Atlanta help people to understand that food has this amazing quality — that it changes people. From a read, it’s amazing. But also from a cooking standpoint, all the recipes are made to be very, very usable. Anyone who’s having a challenge becoming a better cook should find this book really helpful.

Q: What is your favorite recipe in the book?

A: It’s like picking your favorite child, and I have 120 of them. It’s hard to say which one’s my favorite recipe; I have so many. I think my favorite chapter, all in all, is probably the one entitled “My version of Southern food,” because it really helps people understand that Southern food is a living history. It’s not something that we have a tome that we cook from; we’re always growing and changing it every day.

Q: How did you get involved in cooking? What was the impetus?

A: I grew up in a family that was full of food, but only one really great cook, and so it made sense that somebody had to pick up where she left off. And so that was kind of what propelled the beginning of it. And then from there I fell in love with not just cooking but the story that food carries.

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