South of Home
Chef Pano I. Karatassos, Kyma’s executive chef and Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s corporate executive chef, blends contemporary and classic in his new cookbook, Modern Greek Cooking
With a resume that includes stints at renowned culinary destinations such as French Laundry, as well as his current positions as corporate executive chef for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group and executive chef of Atlanta’s Greek-inspired restaurant, Kyma, Chef Pano I. Karatassos has served as a key player in shaping Atlanta’s culinary landscape. A consistent piece of feedback Karatassos received throughout his 25-plus years in the culinary industry: when was he going to produce a cookbook?
“By the time I got into my 10th year at the restaurant [Kyma], I figured it was time to document everything in a book,” Karatassos says. “In a lot of ways, the inspiration came from the natural cooking and environment of Kyma and also from the numerous amounts of people and events asking me to do a book.”
This month, Karatassos answers those requests with the release of his debut cookbook, Modern Greek Cooking: 100 Recipes for Meze, Entrées, and Desserts (Rizzoli, $37.50). The 240-page tome is an homage to the classic Greek recipes he grew up cooking—with the same modernized approach that’s evident on the menu at Kyma.
“A lot of Greek foods are slow cooked and have incredible flavor but muted presentations,” says the chef. “Coming from a background of fine dining and working for three top chefs [Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Eric Ripert], I was able to utilize all those skills to take Greek food and brighten and freshen it up while still paying attention to the flavors and tradition.”
The book encompasses everything from meze (small dishes meant to accompany alcoholic drinks) to larger, family-style meals, with recipes such as roasted beet salad, braised whole fish and Greek doughnuts. And while recipes remain true to his Greek heritage, Karatassos kept techniques approachable and easy to prepare at home.
“There are a lot of recipes in this book from generations of my family that will now be documented,” says Karatassos. “It’s as pretty as a tabletop book can be, but as useful as a recipe book should be.” rizzoliusa.com
This fall, some of the South’s premier food and beverage talents share their secrets to success in the kitchen, from collard greens to cocktails—and beyond
Southern meets Mexican in Chef Eddie Hernandez’s cookbook, Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30). The 320-page book highlights the same fusion-fare found at Hernandez’s beloved restaurant concept, Taqueria del Sol, whose locations span across Atlanta to Athens and Nashville. taqueriadelsol.com; hmhco.com
Alba Huerta—owner of Julep and co-owner of The Pastry War in Houston, Texas—explores classic craft cocktails of the South in Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned (Lorena Jones Books, $24.99). Featuring 65 cocktail recipes and 15 bar snacks, the book covers everything from the basics of cocktail mixing to the history of Southern drinking. crownpublishing.com
James Beard-nominated chef Todd Richards—chef/owner of Richards’ Southern Fried and director of culinary for Jackmont Hospitality—honors his personal definition of soul food with Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes (Oxmoor House, $35). From his childhood in Chicago to culinary success in Atlanta, Richards shares his story through recipes and personal anecdotes. oxmoorhouse.com