WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Jarrett Wrisley, chef and owner of Soul Food Mahanakorn, has again proved people don't have to cook only the food they ate when growing up, but can learn and diversify as they move on in life. After his first down-to-earth food joint in the high-end Thong Lor area became a success, the American food writer-turned-restaurateur is now working on a Roman-style trattoria that will open soon in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.
More than just reading, Wrisley has found inspiration from cookbooks for his new project.
_ Sirinya Wattanasukchai
What are you reading?
Right now, I'm reading a lot of cookbooks because I'm about to open another restaurant. And cookbooks give me inspiration. Reading Claudia Roden's The New Book Of Middle Eastern Food, Colman Andrews' The Country Cooking Of Italy, Jennifer McLagan's Odd Bits, and about a dozen others. I have a huge stack beside my bed.
What is the book you've always wanted to read but still haven't?
Ulysses, I guess. But I doubt I have the patience. I'll save it for later.
Is there a book you've never managed to finish?
Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Left it for someone else on a very tall sand dune in the Gobi desert, somewhere around Dunhuang. Couldn't stand it.
Did you ever buy a book because everybody was talking about it, but when you actually read it you didn't like it at all?
Not that I'm aware of. I don't read bestsellers very often.
Roughly, at home how many books have you bought that you haven't started reading?
Perhaps a hundred.
Do do you ever buy cookbooks because of the chic illustrations?
Most of the books that I buy are cookbooks or food related. I do not buy them for the illustrations or photography; in fact, I much prefer to learn than look. Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art might be my favourite cookbook ever; it only has a handful of simple illustrations.
Whose recipes have impressed you the most?
Like most cooks, I don't follow recipes word-for-word. I like cookbooks because of the insight they provide, and to understand the voice and ideas of the cook behind it. I love David Thompson's books. Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose To Tail Eating is probably my favourite for that reason. I love Roden, Fucschia Dunlop, Madhur Jafferey, and I really dig Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck cookbook. It's weird and delightful.
Which book has impressed you the most?
Crime And Punishment. It's perfectly terrifying and believable.