May 05, 2023

What’s Cooking @ HEPL: Ep 14

By: Heidi Herald

Welcome back to What’s Cooking @ HEPL! I am Heidi Herald, a Public Services Librarian at Hamilton East Public Library, and I review one of the library’s cookbooks quarterly. This month, I am reviewing I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes From a Southern Chef by Vishwesh Bhatt. I was lucky to get to interview the 2019 James Beard award-winning author, Chef Vishwesh Bhatt, so check that out below! In our interview, we discussed his new cookbook.

While reading his cookbook, I found out that Chef Bhatt had attended the University of Kentucky. I mentioned that I was from Lexington during our interview, and he told me that he was having a dinner event in Lexington. Since it was on my birthday, I attended with my family in Lexington and was able to try Chef Bhatt’s wonderful recipes. In the cooking video at the end of the blog, I prepare Peanut Curry from his cookbook.

Vishwesh Bhatt is the chef at Snackbar in Oxford, Mississippi. He is known for combining traditional Southern ingredients with the flavors he grew up with in Gujarat, India where he spent his childhood before moving to the United States with his family at the age of seventeen. We tried several of his dishes at the dinner we attended in Lexington, and everyone raved about every dish we tried. My brother-in-law is a notoriously picky eater, and he loved everything, too!

The first thing we tried was Tuk Tuk Fried Chicken. This is buttermilk brined chicken with Tuk Tuk fried chicken spice with lime and curry leaf salt. It was wonderful!

Pictured below are some of the other dishes we tried (from left to right): Pork Country Captain and Grits Upma, Flank Steak and Crispy Potatoes, and Vish’s Shrimp Tacos.

Finally, in the video below I make Peanut Curry from Bhatt’s cookbook. This is a vegan dish and a perfect combination of flavors and textures. I know I will make this recipe again and again!



Check out my interview with Vishwesh Bhatt, where Chef Bhatt discusses how food can bring people together!

I hope you will borrow I Am From Here by Vishwesh Bhatt from our library collections! It is available in e-book format from the Hamilton East Public Library.

Happy Eating!


Explore our HEPL YouTube playlist What’s Cooking @ HEPL for access to the entire cooking series at your own pace.

Missed last month’s episode? You can find the recipe here.

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Credit goes to Danielle Acton, HEPL’s Adult Engagement Coordinator, for producing the videos and for her help and advice.