"Future Chefs," A New Cookbook by Westport Author, Ramin Ganeshram

Jessica Ryan

This is not a kid cookbook – well, of course it is, but it’s not the type of cookbook you’d expect from a bunch of kids. This is a book to be gifted, passed on and shared, especially among children and teenagers. It’s inspiring and thought-provoking. Future Chefs: Recipes by Tomorrow’s Cooks Across the Nation and the World is the brainchild of chef, food writer and author, Ramin Ganeshram. Future Chefs is a remarkable collection of stories and recipes from extraordinary children world-wide. Some of the recipes are quite complex, others couldn’t be more simple, but the messages about the food, and around the food, are what inspires. 

We are introduced to a new generation of chefs, foodies and tastemakers and we see the ever changing world of food through their eyes. Today’s children are smart and savvy. They are aware of all that lies around them. Many of these children are keenly aware of health and nutrition, the importance of fresh, wholesome ingredients, supporting local businesses and farms and using organic ingredients. In Future Chefs you will meet all sorts of children from a wide array of socio-economic backgrounds – some are privileged, others are not, and many have remarkable stories to share. These children are focused and determined. Collectively they have published recipes, have food blogs, have been invited to the White House as guests of Mrs. Obama, and have made appearances on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, NPR, and Chopped.

In Future Chefs we meet Georgia Cantanese who was born deaf and lost her mother at an early age and taught herself to cook so that she could create delicious, wholesome meals for her ailing father. Jack Witherspoon took to cooking while home-bound due to Leukemia. He shares his recipe for Shepherd’s Pie which he perfected while he was ill. Steven Amoros’ life was saved by his passion for cooking which got him off the streets and kept him away from prison – his older brother was not so lucky. Jonathan Marin, who has Asperger syndrome, sought peace and solitude in the kitchen. He became home-schooled after getting bullied by his peers at school. Through cooking, he is able to show warmth and love to others. 12-year-old Megan Yee took to reading cookbooks because dyslexia made reading traditional books more difficult. Samantha Pecoraco suffers from a rare esophageal condition that causes her body to reject food. Her disease has no cure and her treatment is comprised of a costly food port. Despite the fact that Samantha cannot taste what she’s preparing she loves to make others happy with the food she prepares. She explains that although she can’t taste, her sense of smell is heightened which lets her know just how something will taste. These are just a few of the incredible children featured.

In addition to these stories, you’ll find creative and imaginative recipes such as Kale Caesar Salad, Eggplant Pesto Sandwich, Quinoa Salad with Fire Roasted Pepper Sauce, Mini Mediterranean Calzones, Jambalaya, Vegetable Parmesan Crusted Flounder, Black Bean Salmon Burger, Alligator Gumbo, Trinidad Curry Chicken, Homerun Meatloaf Burger, Skirt Steak, Classic Chocolate Cake with Speculoos Frosting, Banana Cake (with Salted Caramel Drizzle), Lemon White Chocolate & Strawberry Layer Cake and Superfruit Crumble.

Ramin Ganeshram is the author of Stir it Up! which was a Scholastic Book Fair featured selection. She is a 20 year veteran journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Saveur, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Forbes, Trveler and National Geographic Traveler. She trained as a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education and she currently teaches food writing ant New York University. Ramin lives in Westport with her husband photographer Jean Paul Velotti who provided the gorgeous images in this book, and her daughter.