If you’ve ever wanted to replicate the cuisine of James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd, you’ll soon have the chance.
Announced today via Publishers Marketplace, Shepherd recently inked a deal to develop his first-ever cookbook. According to the publisher’s blurb, the as-yet-untitled book will be written by former TastingTable.com editor and author Kaitlyn Goalen and published by Clarkson Potter in 2018.
According to Shepherd, the project is a little over a year in the works. “I got approached left and right, but I never really knew if I wanted to do a cookbook or not,” he tells Eater. “But I said you know what, it would be good for the staff, good for Houston, good for us, good for a lot of things. Let’s do one and talk about what we do and how we do things.”
Now that the deal is official, Shepherd will work on building the recipes for the book, drawing influence from Houston and beyond. “We broke it down into categories and really focused on ingredients and how you can use them across cultures and adapt them to an everyday lifestyle,” says Shepherd. “I don’t want a cookbook that has 5,000 steps per recipe. It’s got to be easy and true to what it is and just delicious. I want something my mom can open up and rock out some recipes and not feel overwhelmed, but also learn something.”
Like his restaurant Underbelly, Shepherd’s cookbook will weave influences from cultures across the globe while showing off Houston’s own culinary identity. “It’s not just about cooking, it’s about understanding the cultures that are around you and breaking down the walls and seeing people and understanding their culture through food,” he says. “That was very important to me. It’s very transferable not just in Houston, but every city in the United States. Local food is described not just through the product, but through the local culture and the people.”
Shepherd has no concrete timeline for release of the book, which was announced just days after Shepherd signed a lease on a space for his brand new concept One Fifth, a project that involves developing five unique restaurants over five years.
“It’s going to be a while because at the same time I decided to sign a lease on a new restaurant. I’ve got a really cool agent, writer, and publisher, it’s like a dream team for me,” he says. “They understand what running a restaurant means and opening a new one and hosting the Super Bowl in Houston. We’ll see. We have an open-ended deadline. But of course, I want to push it and be done.”