michael symon: live to cook

MSApril of last year we went to Sonoma and San Francisco for the week. Like every trip I take, I spend a fair amount of time researching where to eat. For this trip, I e-mailed Michael Symon to inquire about his favorite places since I remembered reading he just returned from the Bay area. He quickly responded with not only his suggestions, but his friend’s as well, fellow chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto. We actually ended up at Incanto one night, and to our surprise (more like complete shock), the sever brought out foie gras and bacon on toast with strawberry-rhubarb jam topped with trotter for us to start our meal. As she set the dish down she said, ‘Michael Symon welcomes you to San Francisco.’ I still can’t believe it – Michael Symon not only took the time to share restaurant suggestions with me and call around for more, but extended this incredibly kind and thoughtful gesture. When I first started this blog I sent out an e-mail to a bunch of chefs looking to do Q&A’s -something I thought would be fun to explore and was curious to see who would respond. Michael Symon was the first (he responded with answers in 15 minutes). And he barely knew me.  And when my sister was securing items to be raffled to help raise money for one of her coworker’s son’s who had cancer, Symon again was the first to respond to my e-mail and generously donated. These are just a few examples of the encounters I’ve had with him.  You all know that Symon is a great chef. I’d also like you to know that he’s even a better person.

Whenever we bump into him or his wife, Liz, they treat us as if we’ve known them forever. They are genuine, funny and the perfect representation for our city. I’m thankful that authoring this blog has given me the opportunity to get know so many wonderful people, including the Symons.

As most of us know by now, chef Symon’s first cookbook, Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock your Kitchen, comes out November 3. Courtesy of the publisher, I’ve been given two copies of the book, one for me and one to giveaway.

As soon as I opened the package, I started perusing the book and all its beautiful photography. I still haven’t put it down. It’s filled with dishes from Lola and Lolita as well as meals he makes with his family. And there are stories – lots of stories with history. And information, really good information that’s geared to make us all better in the kitchen. My husband and I plan to cook our way through every page of this book and hopefully become better homecooks because of it.

Symon’s cookbook is a true Cleveland representation with contributions from Heidi Robb and Michael and Donna Ruhlman. You can’t not be excited for Michael. We have all cheered him on, on both the local and national stage, and supported him since Lola first opened in 1997. He’s one of us.

If you’d like the other copy, just tell me your favorite part of the pig to cook with and why. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday. Happy reading and eating.

7 Comments

  1. John
    Posted November 4, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    A close second to the belly for me is the cheeks. If you’re ever at a pig roast and they “present” the head at the serving table, take a knife and get under the skin along the jaw. The meat is so fatty and flavorful. Plus you get the added bonus of freaking all the little kids out at the party.

  2. V
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Belly, loin, tenderloin bacon…even jowl ( guancialle, thats wjat spaghetti carbonara is made from ) is very obvious choice …but the most uder used parts can be very delicious if treat it right…pork liver van make delicacies country pate, pigs feet has a lot of natural gelatin is insanely delicious ..trotters..it just takes a lot of skill and knoglige to make it right..pigs head gives us head cheese..[igs tales love it smoked with glass of beer and pumpernickel rye ( just like they eat in some parts of europe )…ears has a nice cruch,,can be braised ..confit ..or added to a headcheese for texture and flavor..pigs blood …blood rice sausage…” Radells ” off e 156 has good ones….hope I boost you appetite..i’m drooling .:-) and not kidding !

  3. Cara
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    How about the whole pig, as in a pig roast! That’s my favorite way to enjoy pork!!

  4. Posted November 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Symon would be proud. Lots of love for the hog – and plenty of prep ideas. Congrats to DW as the proud new owner of the cookbook. Buying the whole pig and enjoying every last bit of goodness is some serious pig passion.

  5. Michele
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Definitely the bacon! Crisp it up, chop it up and make some delicious chocolates. Bacon & chocolate … like peas in a pod. :)

    Of course, my mom would be disappointed if I didn’t mention her glazed ham we all devour at Christmas.

  6. Posted November 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for providing this insight into what type of a person Michael Symon is. It makes me even happier that I choose to patronize his restaurants knowing that he is a solid, thoughtful, generous human being.

    “He’s one of us” – pretty much sums it up :)

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