ethan and angela stowell.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Ethan and Angela Stowell make a dynamic duo.
Ethan Stowell's got it going on. He has launched a bunch of successful


Ethan Stowell Cooks A Book

ethan and angela stowell.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Ethan and Angela Stowell make a dynamic duo.
Ethan Stowell's got it going on. He has launched a bunch of successful restaurants (Tavolata, How To Cook A Wolf, Anchovies and Olives, and the latest, Staple & Fancy Merchantile). He and partner Kaela Farrington have blanketed the city with beautiful Lagana Pasta. He's got a glamorous wife working alongside him. And now, his first book, New Italian Kitchen, co-authored with Leslie Miller, has hit bookstores. We're trying hard not to hate him for being so accomplished.

SW: Congrats on the book! It's beautiful.

Ethan: Thank you. I appreciate that. It was a significant amount of work, so I'm glad that part is done. And so far, the response has been good.

SW: Can you talk about the process of writing a book?

Ethan: Ours went a little longer than normal. We kind of landed on a weird spot on the calendar. We could get the book done fast or we could take some time, but that would mean pushing it back a year. We decided to push it back a year because we wanted it to come out and be well received. So, it took around two years. The first thing you have to do is come up with the idea for your cookbook. Then, you've got to figure out how to get a publishing company to pick it up. You've got to make a case for why they should publish your book. We did all that. We went to a few places and got a couple of offers and we were most comfortable with Ten Speed. They were very pleasant and supportive of how we wanted to write the book. We signed a contract and by that time, you have a schedule put together by the publishing company by a certain date.

SW: And you understand the nature of deadlines after working as a cook, getting your lists together and all that, right?

Ethan: It's easier that way. To have a schedule and live by that schedule. It makes everyone's life a whole lot easier.

SW: Was it more difficult than you imagined?

Ethan: No, not at all. I had Leslie, Leslie Miller, who co-authored the book with me. She's had lots of experience. She's worked on both sides of the publishing business, as an author and an agent and on the editorial side. So she understood it well. Was it hard? It took a lot of time, but it's not like we were working on it every day. I didn't really know Leslie before we started working on the book and we've become good friends now. We hang out. The same with our photographer, Geoff. We all had a lot of fun doing the book. It wasn't at all about having to drag yourself into work. It was fun.

SW: You have so much on your plate. How did you fit that in?

Ethan: We went in early a couple days a week and would cook for five hours. That was just cooking. That wasn't writing or editing or talking about how it's going to be marketed. That was just straight cooking. We would go in at 9 and cook until 2. And then I would go do my regular work. Sometimes, that was tough to do when the phone was exploding. You know, when people are calling in sick or an order didn't show up or whatever it may be. That made it a little chaotic at times, but Leslie was cool. She was a true partner. Then, sometimes I would work until midnight.

SW: How would you describe the book if you were at a cocktail party? What's the quick pitch?

Ethan: It's a collection of recipes inspired by the way we cook at the restaurants. Most of the cooking techniques are pretty easy, but it encourages you to get out and meet your fishmonger and your butcher. Some of the stuff in there is a little exotic. I don't think it's crazy exotic. It's a book that's meant to challenge you on resourcing, but not so much on cooking. The cooking's pretty basic and easy.

Check back for part two of this week's Grillaxin Q & A to learn about chef Ethan Stowell's favorite shellfish. He's giving a talk and signing books at 7 tonight at the University Village Barnes & Noble.

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