ftfI am only peripherally aware of most celebrity chefs (everyone seems to be a celebrity chef these days) and only a few attract my attention. But I was intrigued by a radio interview I heard recently with Chef Mario Batali (he’s apparently a celebrity chef mogul) who was promoting his new book: America – Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers, which he wrote with Jim Webster.

As a supporter of local farms and the whole source local concept, I was curious to see how Chef Batali and his coauthor would address the subject. Would they make it splashy for only the true foodies out there to enjoy? Or would they present an accessible book that even the casual cook and local farm stand guys like me could learn from? I am pleased to say they have given us the latter and it is fantastic.

About America – Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers by Mario Batali and Jim Webster: “Bestselling author and world-renown chef Mario Batali pays homage to the American farmer-from Maine to Los Angeles-in stories, photos, and recipes. Mario Batali, who knows the importance of ingredients to any amazing dish, sees farmers as the rock stars of the food world. In this new book he celebrates American farmers: their high quality products and their culture defined by hard work, integrity, and pride. Batali asked his chef friends from Nashville, Tennessee, to San Francisco, to tell him who their favorite farmers were, and those farmers graciously shared their personal stories along with their top-of-the-line produce and products. In Seattle, Chef Matt Dillon introduces readers to Farmer Pierre Monnat, who produces fava beans and lamb. Batali then features those ingredients in such mouth-watering recipes as: Lamb Shank Sloppy Joes and Fava Bean Guacamole. In Washington, DC, Chef Jose Andres from Jaleo introduces us to Farmer Jim Crawford, who grows corn, broccoli, and strawberries Batali’s accompanying dishes include: Chilled Sweet Corn Soup and Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Salsa. Other stops along the way include: Tampa; Austin; Nashville; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New York, San Francisco; Portland, Maine; Chicago; Cleveland; Suttons Bay, Michigan; and Vail, Colorado. With over 100 superb recipes, this is the book that every home cook will want upon returning from the farmer’s market or grocers.”

In America – Farm to Table we are treated to some great recipes for the types of things we see in abundance at local farmers’ market but may not a good way to prepare in meals. Meanwhile, in addition to some great tips the book is full of wonderful photographs and cool recipes… like Potato and Salami Cheesecake. Yep, for real!

America – Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers by Mario Batali and Jim Webster can be found on Amazon and at other fine book retailers.

Find Chef Batali’s recipe for Potato and Salami Cheesecake courtesy of The Splendid Table here.