Award-winning chef talks about 'dream' new cookbook

ABC News’ Linsey Davis spoke with Kwame Onwuachi about his cookbook, “My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef” and how the diverse dishes of the African diaspora give voice to the culture.
4:24 | 06/23/22

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Transcript for Award-winning chef talks about 'dream' new cookbook
IN POWER. JOINING US NOW IS AWARD WINNING CHEF -- THE YOUNG CHEF HAS HAD AN AMAZING JOURNEY IN THE CORNER WORLD FROM BEING A TOP CHEF CONTESTANT TO OPENING UP HIS OWN RESTAURANT. NOW, HE IS BRINGING THOSE DISHES RIGHT TO YOUR TABLE. NOW, HE IS BRINGING A BOOK CELEBRATING THE DIVERSE FOOD AND FLAVORS OF THE AFRICAN THAT, BROKE OF-ING AT NARRATIVE TO THE RECIPES. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING. US >> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. >> WHERE IS THE FOOD? I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO GET A SAMPLE? HERE >> I'VE GOT TO COME BACK. I'VE GOT TO COME BACK. >> OKAY, YOUR FIRST BOOK WAS A MOM, OUR SECOND BOOK A COOKBOOK. TELL US ABOUT THAT BOOK AND HOW YOU ARRIVED AT THIS CONCEPT. >> THE SECOND BOOK, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S EVERY CHEF'S DREAM TO HAVE A COOKBOOK, RIGHT? AND, I WANTED TO REALLY JUST TELL MY VERSION OF, YOU KNOW, WHAT I GREW UP EATING IN AMERICA. EVERYONE HAS THEIR DIFFERENT VERSION OF WHAT THEY EAT IN THEIR HOUSE. THEY LEAVE THEIR HOUSE, AND THEY REALIZE THAT EVERYBODY EATS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY. SO, MINE WAS FULL OF AFRO CARIBBEAN RECIPES, YOU KNOW? SOUTHERN RECIPES, AND ALSO STUFF THAT IS IN THE AMERICAN FOOD. >> AND, YOU REALLY KIND OF FOCUS HERE ON AFRICAN, AND CREOLE, CARIBBEAN. HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO STICK TO THE TRADITION OF THOSE FOODS, AND AT THE SAME TIME GIVE IT YOUR OWN FLAVOR AND STICK TO YOUR OWN AUTHENTIC STYLE? >> YEAH, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT STEMS FROM JUST MY CULINARY PROWESS OF, LIKE, WHAT I WENT THROUGH IN MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER, AND I VIEW MY FOOD THROUGH THAT LENS. SO, IT'S THE SAME DISHES, HONESTLY. IT'S JUST -- IT'S JUST DONE IN A LITTLE BIT OF A DIFFERENT WAY, YOU KNOW? MAKING EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH, PREPARING FRESH INGREDIENTS, AND PUTTING MY STAMP ON IT THAT WAY. >> SO, YOU GREW UP IN NEW YORK. >> IN THE BRONX. >> RIGHT, GOT TO REPRESENT. THEN, YOU SPENT SOME TIME IN NIGERIA WITH YOUR GRANDFATHER. WERE YOU, THEN FOR THE FIRST TIME, INTRODUCED TO A DIFFERENT FLAVOR? >> NO, YOU KNOW, WE ATE A LOT OF NIGERIAN FOOD GROWING UP. I THINK IT WAS DEFINITELY A LITTLE MORE PUNGENT IN NIGERIA. BUT, IT WAS THE SAME FOOD THAT I LOVED, YOU KNOW? EATING STEW, YOU KNOW, RICE. IT WAS JUST A DEEPER DIVE INTO IT. AND THEN, ALSO, GETTING THE LAY OF THE LAND, YOU KNOW? WE HAD TO RAISE OUR OWN LIVESTOCK, YOU KNOW, GET OUR OWN VEGETABLES, THINGS LIKE THAT. SO, IT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. >> FRESH, I MEAN, LIKE FARM TO TABLE. >> YEAH, I DID THE MISTAKE OF NAMING THESE ANIMALS BEFORE WE HAD TO KILL THEM. I WAS CRYING AT THESE CEREMONIES. SO, YEAH IT WAS INTERESTING. >> YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT HOW FOOD OF THE DIASPORA HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. HOW ARE YOU NOW, KIND OF, GIVING VOICE TO THAT? >> WELL, I THINK, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN'T REALLY TALK ABOUT AMERICAN CUISINE WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT WEST AFRICAN CUISINE, WITH THE PEOPLE WHO IT WAS TAKEN, AND ALSO THEIR FOOD WAYS AND INGREDIENTS. SOMETIMES, IT WAS EVEN THEN TAKEN TO TENDED THE LAND. YOU, KNOW AMERICANS, FIRST SETTLERS DIDN'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO GROW RICE, SO THEY BROUGHT PEOPLE OVER THAT KNEW HOW TO GROW THAT CROP. SO, I DO IT BY TELLING MY STORY AND USING MY VOICE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE INAUDIBLE, AND I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF IT. >> EXPLAIN. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING THEY ARE GOING TO THUMB THEIR WAY JUST THROUGH A FEW RECIPES, THIS IS NOT THAT. I MEAN, IF THERE ISN'T REALLY AN ANTHOLOGY FOR EVERY MEAL THROUGHOUT THE BOOK HERE. >> YEAH. IT'S JUST AS MUCH OF A BOOK AS IT IS A COOKBOOK. >> A NOVEL. >> YEAH, IT'S A NOVEL. THERE ARE ESSAYS BEFORE ALL OF THE RECIPES THAT TELL YOU THE HISTORY OF MAC AND CHEESE, AND FRIED CHICKEN, AND RED VELVET CAKE, AND RICE. I THINK IT'S A BOOK THAT YOU SHOULD READ THROUGH. IT ALSO STARTS OFF IN THE PANTRY, SO YOU'VE GOT TO BUILD THAT UP BEFORE YOU COOK THROUGH THE BOOK. SO YEAH, IT'S NOT A BOOK THAT YOU FLY THROUGH. I THINK IT'S A BOOK THAT YOU REALLY SIT WITH AND GET TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT. >> I AM HUNGRY NOW. THAT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITES. PEOPLE REALLY COOK IT PROPERLY. >> YEAH, IT'S WATERY AND STUFF. >> KWAME, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH. >> OF COURSE. I HAVE THIS SAYING, I AM TOO ANNOYING TO BE DISAPPOINTED. >> I LOVE IT. REALLY A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU >> ABSOLUTELY, THANK. YOU >> FOR ALL OF OUR VIEWERS

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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