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Food Heroes: Sixteen Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584798548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584798545
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Georgia Pellegrini's passion for artisanal foods began when she was a child growing up in the Hudson Valley, where her family raised chickens and honeybees, and where the notion of local and sustainable was a daily practice. She attended Wellesley and Harvard and spent a brief stint on Wall Street before attending the French Culinary Institute in New York.

Pellegrini has worked in two of New York's most esteemed restaurants-Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns-as well as in one of the premier restaurants in France, La Chassagnette. She currently roams the world, tasting good food and meeting the good people who make it--and writing about them on her popular blog: www.georgiapellegrini.com.

More About the Author

Georgia Pellegrini is known internationally for her fearless approach to sourcing her ingredients, from the backyard to the wild. She has a passion for good, simple food that began at an early age--on a boulder by the side of a creek as she caught trout for breakfast. She grew up on the same land that her great-grandfather owned and worked: a farm called Tulipwood in New York's Hudson Valley. Her connection to nature and the deep satisfaction she got from manual labor stayed with her through college. Even during the years that she ventured into the corporate world of finance, she felt something tugging at her to return back to the land.

After a bit of soul searching, Pellegrini decided to leave the cubicle behind and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Soon after, she began working at farm-to-table restaurants, first at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and then at Gramercy Tavern in New York. At the former, when asked to slaughter and butcher a few turkeys for the restaurant, she felt the most visceral sense of connection to the food. "The experience was invigorating and awakened the primal part in me," she recalls. "All of a sudden, I had this purpose to pay the full price of the meal, to become a responsible omnivore and understand the process from farm to plate."

She went on to work at La Chassagnette, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the south of France, spending her days driving heavy farm equipment, befriending the gardener and his three- legged cat, and harvesting ingredients for dinner. She found that she was most interested in the foragers and fig collectors and salami makers who arrived to the restaurants with their goods, and she soon went on journeys with them--through the woods, into curing rooms, and over the rolling hills of olive oil vineyards. Her first book, Food Heroes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010) tells the story of 16 culinary artisans across the world who are fighting to preserve their food traditions. The book was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for an International Association of Culinary Professionals award. "While I was writing Food Heroes, I realized each person I spoke to shared a common bond: a connection to the land," she says. "I knew my next task had to be refocusing on getting to the heart of where our food comes from by heading to the source, Mother Nature."

She bought a shotgun and set her sights on the cutting-edge of culinary creativity intent on pushing the boundaries of American gastronomy. She traveled over field and stream in search of the main course and met a host of colorful characters along the way. The result of these adventures is the critically acclaimed book Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2012), named one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2012 by Booklist and a best book of the month by Amazon.com.

In her latest book, Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life (Clarkson Potter, 2014), she teaches 'manual literacy' and modern day pioneer skills that are accessible no matter what kind of space you live in--from fire escape gardening, to up-cycling, to preserving, to learning how to change a tire.

Pellegrini also chronicles her adventures in meeting food artisans and gathering her ingredients on her popular website, www.georgiapellegrini.com, which garners more than 2 million hits per month. For immersion into her adventurous yet stylish lifestyle, she hosts Adventure Getaways across the country. These two- to three-day trips include a combination of outdoor activities; horseback riding and scenic ATV rides; clay shooting; fly fishing; hunting for birds, wild hogs, and deer; cleaning and butchering; chef-prepared meals and cooking classes, and more. For more information, visit www.georgiapellegrini.com/adventuregetaways.

She has been on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Iron Chef America," NBC's "Today Show" HBO's "Real Sports," Fox, NPR, Martha Stewart radio, in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Food & Wine, ESPN, Town & Country, More, The New York Post, and many more. When Pellegrini isn't delving into local foodways at home in Austin, TX, she's roaming the world hunting and gathering, tasting good food, and meeting the good people who make it.

Customer Reviews

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Once you've read about them you'll feel you know them, perhaps most of all you'll want to taste their food.
Gail Cooke
If you're a foodie and you want to connect with some of the mom and pop artisan that bring us the food we crave, you'll enjoy Food Heroes.
venetian sumac
A conversion chart is included, as is a recipe index for the several recipes that follow each chapter, as well as a normal index.
wogan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Can you imagine selecting the foremost artisanal food devotees from not only the U.S. but throughout the world? A daunting task, albeit a tasty one. Georgia Pellegrini more than rose to the challenge in her lively, informative FOOD HEROES as she shines a spotlight on those who are preserving tradition.

Compiling the book was a labor of love for Pellegrini who grew up in the Hudson Valley where her family raised chickens and honeybees. She followed her interest in food to the French culinary Institute in New York and two of N.Y.'s most highly rated restaurants. Thus, she brings intelligence, information and passion in her tribute to FOOD HEROES.

Each vignette reveals more about the individual artisan and includes photos as well as anecdotes. Once you've read about them you'll feel you know them, perhaps most of all you'll want to taste their food.

For instance, in a chapter titled Smoking Hog she introduces Alan Benton, hog breeder, and purveyor of some of the finest bacon and hams to be found. ([...]) It seems that in 1973 when Benton was a college guidance counselor he determined that he had made the wrong career choice. He knew he couldn't make it on the salary he received, so he just quit with no future plans. As his father said, "Son, that's not very prudent thinking."

As it turned out Benton heard of a man who was selling his business and decided he wanted to take it over. He never thought he'd become rich but some 36 years later his "intoxicating combination of pork, salt, smoke, brown, sugar, and time" result in what some consider the best ham and bacon in our country.

Pellegrini also discovered Stuart and Anissa Hull in Tellico Plains, Tennessee.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition

I'd like to see one person read Food Heroes and not be inspired to rush out and dig, forage or hunt (or at least find a way to support someone who does).

If I could have one book to explain the reason for my recent change in diet, this would be it. It's not about weight for me. It's about getting back to the roots. Georgia Pellegrini explains this pretty nicely in her introduction. To paraphrase part of her argument: Currently we have a fad-- a push for whole and organic foods. The foundation of this fad is a longing for a connection with what we're eating. And as she says, "When this tie to tradition is undone, food is much less satisfying."

In this book, Pellegrini explores the practice of 16 Culinary Artisans who are working to preserve and strengthen the traditions that tie us to our food, just like the cover says, and their stories are as beautifully written as beautifully lived. The topics covered in this book are filled with the potential to drone on and bore, but the passion and beauty that fuels the daily work of these Food Heroes also fills each page with the energy needed to save our culinary traditions and transform the relationship we have with what's on our plates.

Through this page-turner, we meet a potato breeder, striving to preserve the potatoes of our history. While most of the world imagines the brown russet potato with it's dense white "meat," David Langford nurtures potatoes of all shapes and shades of color. His description of each potato reads as if he's describing a beloved relative's personality and quirks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James J. Pellegrini on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not a fan of most food books these days. The ones that aren't just plain trash are overtly commercial vehicles for celebrities hawking their latest line of pots & pans. Wait a minute, those are just plain trash, too.

But once in a while, a book comes along that's written by somebody who obviously loves what they're writing about, and can do it well. This is one of those books.

Chef Georgia Pellegrini (unrelated to me) is a breath of fresh air in a culinary scene that worships 30-minute-meals and the wonders of boneless, skinless meats. She's a real food lover who values timeless traditions embodied by the slow foods and artisan producers profiled in her book. This is not a "how-to" book (though it does contain a handful of brilliant recipes), or a deep dive into a narrow area of culinary minutiae. It's an eclectic celebration of the art of artisan food processing, delivered in the form of artisan profiles. The stories are moving, heart-felt descriptions of artisans and their craft, and will make you long for the foods described in each chapter.

The only criticism I have, if you can call it that, is the Euro-centric focus (considering that most American food traditions are handed down from Europeans). Perhaps this is an opportunity to even further expand horizons for future works. I vote for a chapter on miso artisans in your next book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L. Jenkins on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, very well written with simple yet wonderful recipes. It has inspired me to spend more quality time in the garden and kitchen!
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