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Invigorating authentic Southern soul cooking with new inspiration, acclaimed chef Deborah VanTrece elevates classic comfort food into unique, surprising dishes worth celebrating.
Deborah VanTrece's Kansas City roots, wide travel, and celebrated career in Atlanta have gifted her with a uniquely rich way with food--keeping soulful recipes fresh and fun while honoring cultures, ingredients, and tradition. In her first cookbook, the Twisted Soul chef makes clear that soul cooking has always been as seasonally driven as la cucina povera, as versatile as California cuisine, and as impressive as French technique. In VanTrece's hands, familiar components become dramatic and dynamic dishes, and classic recipes reveal surprising twists.
Across bountiful chapters studded with vibrant photography, The Twisted Soul Cookbook offers almost 100 fresh salads and side dishes, generous main courses, exciting seafood, rich desserts, and brilliant pantry staples to enhance everyday cooking, including dressings, relishes, and sauces. VanTrece is an able teacher and storyteller, guiding the reader through techniques both simple and sophisticated.
About the Author
Chef Deborah VanTrece opened the acclaimed Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours in 2014, and since then, the award-winning soul food restaurant has appeared on numerous Best Of lists, including features in the New York Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thrillist, Buzzfeed, Kitchn, and Food & Wine magazine, winning acclaim for her mastery of imported cooking techniques and delicious globally informed cuisine. Chef VanTrece is included in 2020's Tasty Pride: Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community; this is her first cookbook.
“The Twisted Soul Cookbook is a fun and funky combination of uptown, downtown, urban, country, down-home, and global recipes. Coupled with loads of bright, colorful photography, you feel the joy in this cookbook, just like you feel the joy when you meet Deborah and eat in her restaurant. Twisted Soul delivers bold yet balanced flavors, opening up a world of exciting tastes and mind-blowing combinations for cooks at any level. It’s a must have on your kitchen shelf.”
— VIRGINIA WILLIS, chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author
“We’ve long adored the striking originality and comforting indulgence of Deborah VanTrece’s cooking. The Twisted Soul Cookbook evolves Southern traditions with inspiration from VanTrece’s own well-traveled life, mining resonances to soul she found in iconic comfort foods from Italy to France to Israel to Argentina. In VanTrece’s kitchen, neck bones meet gnocchi, green tomatoes are chopped into chimichurri, and crème brûlée gets the red velvet treatment. There are so many good food ideas in this book, so beautifully executed, we can’t wait for the world to devour it!”
— MATT LEE and TED LEE, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
“The Twisted Soul Cookbook, without any doubt, is not only about the delicious traditions of both soul & Southern food, it further establishes both as the cuisine of America—all centered around Deborah’s hospitality and inclusion of all seated at the table.”
— TODD RICHARDS, chef and author of Soul: The Evolution of a Chef in 150 Recipes
“In her debut cookbook, Deborah VanTrece doesn’t just take us around the world, she brings us home. Filled with stories and flavors, The Twisted Soul Cookbook reminds us that every meal we prepare is an opportunity to have some fun.”
— JULIA TURSHEN, founder of Equity at the Table and author of Simply Julia
“Chef Deborah VanTrece has taken her brilliantly colorful imaginative culinary passion for global nuances and bold flavors to heart in this beautiful, exciting, eatable bible of soulful recipes. A must have celebration of life, food and love . . . on a plate!”
— ALEXANDER SMALLS, James Beard Award-winning chef, author, and restaurateur
“Deborah VanTrece has spent her entire cooking career as a scholar of all things soul food across the globe. The Twisted Soul Cookbook is the gift of a lifetime of lessons from generations of traditions in nourishment and celebrations. I can not wait to cook my way through this book with the ingenious air of Deborah’s perspective and personality.”
— KELLY FIELDS, chef and author of The Good Book of Southern Baking
“The recipes in The Twisted Soul Cookbook make my mouth water. Chef Deborah VanTrece brings her vibrant personality and eclectic background to the dishes she has created here. I can’t wait to taste them.”
— TANYA HOLLAND, award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author of Brown Sugar Kitchen
“Reading through Deborah VanTrece’s recipes is like taking a walk down memory lane of my childhood in the South. Fresh salmon croquettes are warmly familiar, a mustard greens take on Caesar salad is a brilliant twist, and a sweet tea barbecue sauce is an inspired idea I wish I had thought of first. It’s a collection of recipes with universal appeal—whether you live in the South or not—but stamped with Deborah’s singular point of view.”
— BEN MIMS, cooking columnist for The Los Angeles Times