It has been a banner year for Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy.
So far, the pair has been named two of the Best New Chefs of 2013 by Food & Wine, and their second restaurant, Hog & Hominy, was named one of GQ's Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013 and one of the South's Best New Restaurants by Southern Living. It also received a glowing review in The New York Times.
But 2013 isn't over yet, and Ticer and Hudman aren't finished racking up milestones. On September 3rd, their first cookbook, Collards & Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots (The Olive Press), hits the stands. We sat down to find out more about the next big step for two of Memphis' hottest chefs.
Memphis Flyer: You guys have been busy this year. How long has this cookbook been in the works?
Ticer: We were approached by Patti Clauss, the recruiter for Williams-Sonoma. She'd been to Andrew Michael a few times and liked what we were doing.
Hudman: They talked to us two years ago about doing a book. We were like, "Hell, yeah!" And then six months went by, and we didn't hear anything.
Ticer: We kind of gave up on it. Then, a year later, they got in touch with us again, and we were like, "Hell, yeah! We're ready to rock." And they were like, "You've got a year to do it."
Hudman: We had a year to do it, and we procrastinated for six months.
Ha! So, when it came time to sit down and work, how did you start culling your recipes?
Hudman: Originally, the book was just going to be the first five years at Andrew Michael. But then our editor, Jen Newens, came to Hog & Hominy and she [said], "No way. This has to be in the book."
How even is the distribution of Andrew Michael recipes and Hog & Hominy recipes?
Ticer: Pretty even. Vegetables and desserts are pretty much from Hog & Hominy, the pastas are pretty much from Andrew Michael, the starters are from both, and the entrées are from Andrew Michael.
Hog & Hominy is more elevated casual food, whereas Andrew Michael is fine dining. Did you find it easy to mix the two styles in the book?
Ticer: Yeah, and we made it more approachable for cooking at home. We know it's hard to cook restaurant food at home, so we definitely geared this toward the home kitchen.
Hudman: The book gives you different levels. There's stuff that any novice cook can do, but there's also a medium-level challenge, and then, at the end of the book, the tasting menu will let you flex your fancy-cooking muscles.
What's next for you two? Do you plan on doing another book?
Hudman: There are a few other restaurants we want to do, a few other concepts. I swear, I think we could have two or three restaurants in the next three years. And then a butcher shop, for sure — a place where we can really showcase local farms and their products and the art of butchery. It's something we've always wanted to do.
Ticer: As for [another] book, absolutely. We hope to start one this January.
Hudman: It's been a cool experience. In five years, we'll be able to look back at this snapshot of everything we've done up until this point.
Ticer: We might look back and think, What the hell were we thinking?
Hudman: Yeah. But what I love about this book is it's more than just recipes. You can dive into what really makes us tick and things that inspire us.
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are hosting a release party for the book on September 3rd, at 5:30 p.m., at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, featuring special guests Preston Van Winkle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons and chefs John Currence, Tien Ho, Mike Lata, and Kelly English. Tickets to the event are $125 per person and include a signed copy of Collards & Carbonara, plus cocktails, wine, and food. Proceeds benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance. To purchase your ticket, call Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen at 347-3569.
There will be a booksigning for Collards & Carbonara at the Williams-Sonoma Germantown store, on Saturday, September 7th, at noon.
Collards & Carbonara is available for pre-order from Amazon.