Jun 15, 2022 • 34M

This is Kwame Onwuachi's America (and we're just living in it)

"I wanted to show like what my version of American cuisine was growing up. America is such a melting pot, so it's not pot roast for everybody. For me it was oxtails."

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Brian Hogan Stewart
We tell the compelling stories behind cookbooks you won't get anywhere else. Featuring interviews with leading authors, we explore the art and craft of cookbooks, looking at both new and vintage cookbooks and the inspirations behind them … the compelling people who create them … and their impact on home cooks and the culinary world.
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Hi there,

Apologies for the silence last week! The COVID fairy finally pulled my card, and it knocked me (and my family) down for a number of days. We’re all recovering over here, and I’m excited to share this week’s conversation with you now! I hope you’ll forgive the delay. Read on for more on my recent chat with Kwame Onwuachi—and make sure you’re subscribed to our Substack to access exclusive recipes from Kwame’s My America later this week.


Episode 132: Kwame Onwuachi

It really does feel like we’re living in Kwame Onwuachi’s America.

Industry folks run into him around every turn—he’s fresh off the high-profile hosting gig at Monday’s James Beard Awards, for one—and his voice and influence are becoming undeniably one of the most impactful.

After opening five restaurants before turning 30, Kwame has earned accolades from nearly every major media outlet (James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef, Food & Wine Best New Chef, Esquire Chef of the Year, Forbes 30 Under 30, the “most important chef in America” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and so on).

Now, Kwame is an executive producer for Food & Wine magazine and is responsible for convening the upcoming 2nd Annual Family Reunion, a multi-day event that celebrates racial and ethnic diversity in hospitality.

In Kwame’s first book, 2019’s Notes From A Young Black Chef written with Joshua David Stein, he chronicles his life from growing up in New York City, with extended stints in Louisiana and Nigeria, to the path that led him to his first restaurant, the Shaw Bijou. (And that memoir is now being made into a feature film by A24!)

He’s followed it up with a new book—this time a cookbook, titled My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef, and also co-authored by Stein.

Get Cooking Today: Buy My America from Bookshop or Omnivore Books (PS: Celia @ Omnivore’s got signed copies of both Kwame’s books!)

Part memoir, part cookbook, My America features recipes from Kwame’s culinary journey—from Suya (Nigerian BBQ) to Egusi Stew, a Nigerian recipe he grew up eating that’s thickened with egusi (melon seed).

Recipes This Week:

Paid subscribers will get access to two recipes from Kwame’s My America this week: Jamaican Beef Patties and Suya (“the grandfather of American BBQ”):

Salt + Spine is supported by listeners like you. To get full access to our exclusive content and featured recipes, and support our work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.

We’ve got a great show for you today: Kwame joined us to discuss his culinary career, his books, and of course, to play our signature culinary game.

Thanks for joining us to #TalkCookbooks!

–Brian, Clea, and the Salt + Spine team