the cleveland holiday reading list

Clevelanders, have no fear. I am here to help you solve all your holiday gift-giving dilemmas – and early! Ok… maybe not all. But certainly some!

If your list includes folks that are no stranger to the kitchen, have a soft spot for Cleveland’s rich history or identify themselves as team carnivore, then these trio of books are for you. And don’t forget about you in the process. In the midst of all your hustle and bustle, keep reading for your chance to stock your own stuffing.

In The Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs: 35 Fabulous Meals in About an Hour by Maria Isabella

From the book: Have you ever wondered what your favorite local chefs cook at home? What they prepare for their own family and friends? What they whip up when truly pressed for time? The secret’s finally out as In The Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs takes you into the private kitchens of 35 local culinary greats to discover what’s really cooking.

Author and food enthusiast Maria Isabella posed the same challenge to each featured chef: If you were suddenly to get a call at home from good friends who wanted to stop by, what would you prepare for them in one hour or less? The answers are as varied as the chefs themselves, who represent an exciting array of gastronomic talent — from celebrity chefs, restaurant chef/owners, and institutional chefs, to caterers, cooking instructors, and researchers. Each chef shares detailed recipes for delicious signature meals that can be prepared quickly and easily at home — 119 dishes in all, including a wide range of meat, fish, and vegetarian choices to tempt every palate. Helpful wine pairings are offered as well. Accompanying each recipe are gorgeous full-color photographs featuring both the chefs and their culinary showpieces. Isabella’s profiles of each chef offer fascinating insights into everything from personal life stories to tips for successful last-minute entertaining.

Special thanks to Maria for letting me include a small blurb in her book. What an honor! Very cool to see your name in print.

Micheal Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers

Cleveland’s most beloved chef is back with his second book featuring 100 recipes for steaks, chops, wings, and lesser-known cuts.

From the book:  A devoted carnivore, Michael calls the cuisine at his six Midwestern restaurants “meat-centric.” Now, in Michael Symon’s Carnivore, he combines his passion and expertise in one stellar cookbook. Michael gives home cooks just the right amount of key information on breeds, cuts, and techniques to help them at the meat counter and in the kitchen, and then lets loose with fantastic recipes for beef, pork, poultry, lamb, goat, and game. Favorites include Broiled Porterhouse with Garlic and Lemon, Ribs with Cleveland BBQ Sauce, Braised Chicken Thighs with Kale and Chiles, Lamb Moussaka, and Bacon-Wrapped Rabbit Legs. Recipes for sides that enhance the main event, like Apple and Celeriac Salad and Sicilian Cauliflower, round out the book.

A big congrats to both Symon and Doug Trattner who helped author the book, for being named to The New York Times Best Sellers list!

Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking by Laura Taxel and Marilou Suszko

The West Side Market is one of our true gem’s that makes us proud for so many reasons. In its 100th anniversary, these two fabulous women provide us with amazing access to stories, families and wonderful nostalgia.

From the book: Cleveland’s West Side Market is a matchless culinary and cultural resource, a nationally significant architectural treasure, and part of the city’s distinctive urban landscape. In continuous use since it opened in 1912, the market is among the oldest municipally owned and operated retail food arcades and one of only a handful of such places left in the country. The book chronicles the history of this notable landmark and all it offers consumers and culinary aficionados. Written by two well-known Cleveland food writers, the book takes readers on a nostalgic tour of the market building, outdoor arcades, and into the lives of many vendors and market families who are the true foundation of this historic public space. The volume is rich with many rare, and until now unpublished, vintage and contemporary photographs, and images that provide a delightful armchair tour of this magnificent landmark, which is a must-see destination for food lovers.

Your chance to win. Author Maria Isabella has given me a copy of her new book to giveaway. If you’d like a chance to win a copy, just leave a comment to this post telling me which Cleveland chef you’d invite into your kitchen and why. You have from now until November 8. Good luck!


  1. ousleyr
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I would invite Zach Bruell into my kitchen…. I love his restaurants and always pick them whenever I am celebrating something or someone important in my life. i would love the chance to sit and drink wine and talk to him about his food and Cleveland! Annnnddd… if he could roll up some sushi for me and bring some soft cheese (I am 8 months pregnant and CAN’T WAIT) in about 6 weeks that would be great as well!

  2. rlmthree
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Having a lot of difficulty coming up with a single chef, but there are a few chefs in the book I haven’t tried (from their kitchen) and I’m noticing a trend. East-siders! So I’ll pick Zach Ladner as my entry for the East/West cultural exchange, to get a sample of Giovanni’s on the near west side. I’m positive all these chefs would create something I’d enjoy sampling.
    Perhaps there should be a competitive East/West cook-off (giving downtown to the east, since it’s on that side of the river…), giving everyone a chance to cross the Great Cleveland Divide.

  3. ramikati
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I would invite Michal Symon, because he is just a very nice guy (and an amazing chef, of course).  I would learn a lot from him, and we would have a great time!

  4. live2cookathome
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’d have to go with Jonathon Sawyer. I’ve been in the kitchen with him before and he’s a true inspiration and an amazing teacher.

  5. brianajeanmedia
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    There are so many great chefs to choose from! I would invite Michael Ruhlman because he has wrote many great books and knew Harvey Pekar.

  6. Johnny K
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    So many to choose from, but if I had to go with just one, I would go with Michael Ruhlman. Charcuterie absolutley blew my mind. I never would have guessed that I could make bacon and duck prosciutto at home. That pushed my curiosity so much further in the kitchen and opened up my mind to trying other projects in the kitchen.

  7. kmktaylor
    Posted November 5, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I would have to pick Sawyer because he is a great guy and so friendly and Symon because of his laugh.  Oh yeah, and they can both cook really well!

  8. ml281505
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I would invite Zach Bruell…and hope that he would bring cheese!! Michael Symon would also  be amazing…he seems like such a down home guy, ,even with all the success he has had. Plus his laugh is awesome.

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  11. Posted November 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

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