World Chefs: Duo liven U.S. Southern food with Italian flavors

Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:47pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman draw inspiration for their Southern cooking from their Italian heritage and their grandmothers' Sunday dinners, which they remember fondly in their first book "Collard & Carbonara."

The childhood friends run two popular restaurants in Memphis, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy.

In the book, which they co-wrote with Nicholas Talarico, the duo recount their aspiration to become chefs while growing up in Memphis. They attended culinary school together and apprenticed under the same chef.

Ticer, 34, and Hudman, 33, spoke to Reuters about their grandmothers' Italian Sunday dinners and their twist on Southern food.

Q: What do want your readers to take away from this book?

A: Hudman: Andy and I want them to get a sense who we are and to get a sense of what motivates us and what pushes us every day. Besides the recipes in the book, we want people to know what makes us tick, our families and inspiration, the local farmers. We want them to really see the parallels we see between Italian food and Southern food.

Q: What are the parallels between the two types of cuisines?

A: Ticer: It's familiar flavors we grew up with from our grandmothers and eating them in a different way. It's the same approach we learn when we look at Italy. Italians cook what is in their regions. That is what we adopted with our philosophy.   Continued...

American chefs Andrew Ticer (L) and Michael Hudman are pictured in their acclaimed restaurant Hog & Hominy in Memphis, Tennessee in this February 2013 photo. REUTERS/Ed Anderson/Olive Press/Handout