Before audiences voted for him as the Fan Favorite on Bravo’s Top Chef Las Vegas, 29 year-old Kevin Gillespie was executive chef at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, where today he continues to design ingredient-driven seasonal menus that incorporate the best local, organic and sustainable foods available. Dishes like fried green tomatoes with whipped chevre, charred corn, red onion and sweet oregano-red wine vinaigrette and wood grilled Berkshire pork loin with black bean ragout, roasted mustard greens and local green beans.

“Real cooking is flying by the seat of your pants. It’s finding some inspiration among the ingredients in front of you or your favorite techniques and putting them together to make something good to eat” writes Gillespie. And while there are a handful of recipes from the acclaimed restaurant in the book (like Sage-battered Mushrooms with Cheddar Fonduta and Candied Garlic Syrup or Tomato Frito – Gillespie’s most requested recipe at the restaurant), the philosophy behind Gillespie’s cooking and the one that informs FIRE IN MY BELLY is that when the season changes, the menu changes. Therefore most of the recipes in the book are original, created from scratch and developed with home cooks in mind.

Written with whimsy and quirky Southern charm (chapter titles include “Foods You Thought You Hated,” “Some Like It Hot,” “My Version of Southern Food,” “World Classics Made Better,” and “Junk Food – The Best Worst Food You’ve Ever Had”), the 120 recipes are created in a chef’s casual shorthand, listing the ingredient first (as opposed to quantity), in an attempt to get home cooks to think like a chef – with the ingredient playing the starring and inspiring role. And rather than just writing a list of cooking instructions, Gillespie tries to inform as to why he does things a certain way, explanations that help home cooks to become better cooks.

Meet Gillespie at an upcoming cooking class and book signing at Central Market Cooking School in Dallas on October 25 at 6:30 p.m.  Click here for event details.

Dallas Food Nerd’s Top Three Reasons For Attending: 

1. Cooking classes are fun! Whether it’s with a group or going solo, you will have a chance to learn about southern cooking from one of the coolest chefs around.

2. Meet the renowned Chef Kevin Gillespie- obviously!

3. Get a signed copy of the chef’s new book.

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