Drawing on his experiences cooking around the world, a celebrated chef revisits his Southern cooking roots by reimagining iconic dishes of the American South with bold international flavors.
Learn to cook favorite traditional Southern dishes, adding variety and spice through the use of different techniques and ingredients. Each of ten chapters offers an iconic Southern dish and then international variations, with, for example, Korean or Chinese or Indian ingredients and flavors.
Showing his full range, chef Kenny Gilbert shares other dishes: the “Ribs and Slaw” chapter includes jerk-spiced spareribs with habanero-mango BBQ sauce and coconut-guava slaw; the “Fish and Grits” chapter features grouper Francese with truffle-gouda grits; and the “Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes” chapter includes shawarma-spiced lamb meatloaf with feta and kalamata-olive mashed potatoes.
Through more than 100 recipes, as well as tips and techniques in Gilbert’s own words, this book connects people to the great potential of Southern cuisine in today’s global culture.
About the Author
Award-winningchef Kenny Gilbert has had a career spanning over three decades. He is best known for his flavorful Southern cuisine and has trained in premier fine dining restaurants worldwide as well as worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. Since making his national debut on Top Chef in 2010, Gilbert and his recipes have been featured in a multitude of cookbooks, national magazines, and blogs. He is based in Jacksonville, Florida, where he captains his award-winning restaurant Silkie’s Chicken and Champagne Bar. Alexander Smalls is a James Beard Award–winning chef, author, and raconteur, and was the visionary co-owner of renowned restaurants The Cecil and Minton’s.
“The best cookbooks of 2023. In Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, Kenny Gilbert, a personal chef for Oprah Winfrey, shares Southern recipes from his Midwest and Southern upbringing as well as what he’s gleaned from cooking in kitchens around the world. In over 100 recipes, Gilbert builds on Southern staples like fried chicken and biscuits, offering a Korean-inspired version with gochujang and an Italian take that adds garlic, basil and Asiago cheese to the biscuit. Other favorites that get reinterpreted across different cuisines include burgers and fries, oxtail and rice and cakes and pies.” — Los Angeles Times
“23 foodie gifts for the holidays made in Northeast Ohio. In Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, learn the secret to the best fried chicken and biscuits in several cultures. Euclid-born chef Kenny Gilbert serves his version to celebrities including Oprah Winfrey. You can now make it at home.” — Cleveland.com/Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Top Chef fans will recognize chef Kenny Gilbert from Season 7. The Cleveland-born chef has been at the helm of top resort restaurants in the country and serves as one of Oprah Winfrey’s private chefs. Now he spills some of his best recipe secrets in a beautiful new cookbook, Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, written with Nan Kavanaugh. The detailed recipes and rich photography take home cooks on a journey back to Gilbert’s roots in Southern cooking, now punctuated by his international travels. You’ll find plenty to love, including hearty dishes for the grill and year-round side dishes.” — AARP Magazine
“Reads to savor: new blue-ribbon Southern cookbooks worth a spot in the kitchen. Kenny Gilbert knows something about fried chicken and biscuits. After Oprah Winfrey tasted his version, she was hooked, getting it catered in whenever dinner guests appeared, or hunger struck. The one-time Top Chef contestant now co-owns Silkie’s Chicken & Champagne Bar in Jacksonville, Florida, and he’s built his debut cookbook, Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, around a fetching scheme: He takes ten staples of Southern cuisine on a worldwide tour to show not only their universality but also how to reimagine them in your kitchen. Take those chicken biscuits, for example. In Korea, the honey sauce he lathers on the chicken gets a red smear of gochujang, with plantains and turmeric showing up in the biscuit dough. In China, the chicken comes topped with kung pao sauce and slaw, and peanuts and ginger perfume the biscuit. You catch the drift. Gilbert’s other staples include ribs and slaw, seafood boils, collards and cornbread, and oxtails and rice.” — Garden & Gun
“The 8 Best New Cookbooks of the Year (So Far)… Kenny Gilbert has been one of Oprah Winfrey’s personal chefs for almost a decade, so you know he’s doing something right. Now, with his first cookbook, we can all enjoy some of the dishes he’s whipped up for the queen of daytime TV. In Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, Gilbert takes iconic Southern meals and presents twists on them using ingredients from all over the world. In the ‘Fried Chicken and Biscuits’ section, for example, you’ll find a recipe for Gilbert’s signature ‘Flavor Bomb’ fried-chicken sandwich alongside those for Korean- and Italian-influenced versions, among others. We bet you’ll be as big a fan of Gilbert’s cooking as Oprah is.” — Robb Report
“Chef Kenny Gilbert's debut cookbook Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, reimagines classic Southern dishes using international ingredients. The Florida chef distills a lifetime of cooking and traveling into [this] gorgeous new cookbook. Through recipes that span regional Southern cuisine, Gilbert explores international ingredients and techniques, seamlessly meshing his Southern roots with dishes inspired by the people and places he’s encountered during his prolific culinary career. His new book touches on these experiences, but at its core the book is about introducing readers to a wide range of pantry ingredients and through them, a wider world of cooking. Gilbert's recipes compel you to get outside of your comfort zone, and prepare old favorites like meatloaf in a new (and delicious) way. Gilbert’s career has taken him to kitchens across the U.S. from Colorado to Miami, and abroad to restaurants in Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Through his travels he learned to work with ingredients he didn't grow up eating and now applies them to Southern cooking, which itself draws on cuisines from around the world.” — Southern Living
“In his enlightening new cookbook, the Jacksonville chef brings home global variations on Southern classics. Kenny Gilbert made a name for himself as a Top Chef contestant and occasional personal chef to Oprah Winfrey. And as the proprietor Silkie's Chicken & Champagne Bar, a Jacksonville, Florida, spot popular for foodie spins on fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, mac and cheese, Hoppin’ John, and other comfort foods (plus bubbly cocktails), he knows what Southerners like to eat. Indeed, his first cookbook, the new Southern Cooking, Global Flavors, devotes entire chapters to iconic Southern main dishes and sides such as pork ribs and slaw, fish and grits, oxtails and rice, and collards and cornbread. But as you might glean from the title, there’s a twist. Instead of simply showcasing chefy preparations of traditional recipes, Gilbert supplies several additional interpretations that bring the flavors of diverse cultures to these favorites. Doing so draws upon his experiences in restaurant kitchens in the Caribbean and worldwide, and especially highlights the invaluable influence of the African diaspora on Southern and American cuisine.” — Garden & Gun
"In this mouthwatering cookbook, Kenny Gilbert—a Top Chef alum and chef-owner of Silkie’s Chicken and Champagne Bar in Jacksonville, Florida—pumps up already-delicious Southern food with vibrant flavors from around the world. Gilbert's creative twists on classic Southern dishes include fried chicken with gochujang-honey sauce, Guyanese oxtail pepper pot, charred corn-jalapeño mac and cheese, and coconut curry collard greens, each lovingly photographed by Kristen Penoyer." — SIMPLY RECIPES
“What Chef Kenny is feeding us on the pages of his book is a delicious pathway into the mind of a well-traveled, highly skilled chef with a creative intelligence. His recipes are a testament to his Southern roots and he found the bridge that allows flavors to cross over from other cultures and delight us with new and exciting dishes.” — Chef Ricky Moore, 2022 James Beard Award winner, Best Chef: Southeast
“Just like the man himself, the mouthwatering recipes in this book are comforting, global, dripping with creativity and filled with love and passion. This is the evolution of Southern food as it embraces the world beyond its borders and becomes a cuisine that is rooted in tradition but inclusive of all the finest ingredients around the world.” — Chef Edward Lee, author of Buttermilk Graffiti, 2019 James Beard Award For Best Book of Year In Writing
“Reading through this book reminds me of what I love so much not only about Kenny's cooking, but about who he is as a person. His versatility, his fresh, bold flavors, and the authenticity which he cooks with will make you want to run into the kitchen immediately and grab your favorite cast iron pan. He somehow seamlessly is able to stay true to his soulful southern style, while introducing us to global combinations of flavors that only he could put together. I only wish I could see the smile on your faces when you take the first bite of his coconut-curry collard greens with pineapple-cornbread gremolata!” — Chef Brooke Williamson
“Recipes are a bridge to the past and a gateway into the future. They have the ability to tell a story and connect us by integrating cooking techniques and ingredients from all over the world. The ability to draw from a variety of culture canvases that result in unique flavor compositions and culinary storytelling. Chef Kenny has accomplished incredible, progressive thoughtfulness in this book, and it is incomparable!” — Chef Nyesha Arrington
“Kenny looks at food and finds connections in them from a spiritual and soulful perspective. He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of meaningful, flavorful dishes. The vibrant colorful foods radiate his personality." — Chef Sonny Sweetman
“I’ve had the pleasure of cooking with Chef Kenny Gilbert on numerous occasions and I’m just amazed at his vast knowledge of so many cuisines. He cooks with explosive flavors with a global mindset, from whole ingredients, infusing spice, texture, bursts of flavor and color into simple everyday recipes. This book will transform your dinner to another destination.” — Mei Lin
“Publishers Weekly Spring Announcements. This season’s cookbooks promise cross-cultural flavors that pack a punch, while recipes inspired by familiar favorites offer creative reinterpretations of comfort food. Southern Cooking, Global Flavors. Top Chef star Gilbert turns up the heat in a collection that calls on global flavors to reinterpret Southern classics.” — Publishers Weekly
“Southern Cooking, Global Flavors is incredibly innovative and an instant classic. Informed by his fascinating, international culinary experiences, Chef Kenny Gilbert brilliantly translates classic southern food combinations for cooks around the world. Chef Gilbert rightly begins by reminding us that "’Cooking is a form of storytelling.’ You'll definitely enjoy this soulful and tantalizing tale by the mouthful!” — Adrian Miller, James Beard Foundation Book Award winner
“The personalized stories that Kenny shares are beautiful and draw a vivid picture of how family and food are connected. Southern food naturally has soul, though with Kenny’s childhood memories and recipes this book has deeper southern roots.” — Chef Angelo Sosa
“I have loved watching Kenny’s food evolve over the years. In the mid-2000s, Kenny and I were the only two African-American chefs at the helm of a AAA Five-Diamond restaurant and a Five-Star Mobil Travel Guide restaurant in the United States. He has always inspired me with his flavor combinations and approach. Now the at-home cook can get a sample of how Chef Kenny redefines some of the Southern classics we all love.” — Chef Duane Nutter
“Kenny Gilbert's talent as a chef and restaurateur shines through in his debut cookbook, Southern Cooking, Global Flavors. His innovative take on iconic dishes like Shrimp & Grits and comfort foods like Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes shows that Kenny has both the knowledge and skill to marry Southern ingredients with global flavors—resulting in a cookbook jammed full of thoughtful, well-crafted dishes.” — Chef Jennifer Hill Booker:
“This book is a true American cookbook, one that captures the tapestry of American culture through food. From the outset, my mouth was left watering reading about his mother's fried chicken, and as I continued I was left with a rumbling stomach begging to taste his biscuits, jerk spiced spareribs with coconut guava slaw, Thai Turkey burger with tempura green bean fries, and so so many more. This book is a welcome addition to a blossoming genre of cookbooks that go beyond recipes, and into helping us to gain greater cultural understanding of our neighbors.” — Jessica Nabongo
“Kenny is a class act and a great friend. He is a visionary in the culinary world and part of the original Ritz Carlton dream team, all of which have gone on to make a mark in the industry. Bottom line, he is a true pioneer in making good food great! With his creative techniques, Kenny adds texture and flavor to an amazing story behind the food that just makes you fall in love with his cuisine from the moment you see it.” — Farmer Lee Jones
“Southern Cooking is a culmination of a curious and passionate mind. Kenny’s ability to honor the past with moving his cuisine forward is a gift to all of us. We should all thank Kenny’s mother for the food seeds she planted into her boys. Kenny’s culinary dissertation within the pages of this book is a beautiful testament to how he sees the world and chooses to celebrate the multi-cultural aspect of our country and definitely our professional kitchens. Every recipe gives you a glimpse into how he connects these threads in a seamless way and gives you the confidence to make a tasty dinner. Any preconceived notion you have on both southern food and its ingredients get blown out of the water. Thankful for you KG!” — Chef Claudette Zepeda
“What an incredible Cookbook! The insights and mastery of use of global flavors pays respect to flavor origins while making it his own shows years of dedication with simplistic elevated recipe creations. Chef Kenny’s love and passion come through on every page, inspiring the home cook and professionals to elevate, create, and master all the variations of recipes from ribs, chicken, potatoes, BBQ, and more.” — Chef Jeffrey K. Vigilla