World chefs: Hitz enhances southern food with French techniques

Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:26am EDT
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alex Hitz grew up in Georgia, was classically trained in France and uses the culinary techniques he learned in Europe to enhance the southern food of his childhood.

In his first cookbook, "My Beverly Hills Kitchen, Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist," Hitz provides 175 recipes, an abundance of photos, menus and tips on entertaining gleaned from some of America's top hosts.

"I wanted Southern food, but I wanted it on my terms: the European standards of quality, applied to those grand old plantation traditions," he writes in the book.

Many of the recipes, including one for fried chicken, were inspired by Dorothy Williams Davis, the woman who cooked for Hitz's family for 40 years.

Hitz, a former restaurant owner, talked to Reuters about southern cooking, his culinary influences and the art of entertaining.

Q: This is much more than just a cookbook. How would you describe it?

A: "It is also a memoir. The recipes are really serious, foodie, chef recipes. I tested them hundreds and hundreds of times but it is also the story of my life told through these recipes."

Q: You're trained in France and grew up in the South and in the book you combined both influences. How did you manage to do that?   Continued...

 
Chef and entertaining expert Alex Hitz works in his kitchen in Beverly Hills, California in this undated file photo. Hitz grew up in Georgia, was classically trained in France and uses the culinary techniques he learned in Europe to enhance the southern food of his childhood. In his first cookbook, "My Beverly Hills Kitchen, Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist," Hitz provides 175 recipes, an abundance of photos, menus and tips on entertaining gleaned from some of America's top hosts. To match story FOOD-CHEFS/HITZ REUTERS/Deborah Whitlaw-Llewellyn/Handout