When it comes to fine dining in Santa Monica, Rustic Canyon is consistently on the top of food critics’ lists thanks to executive chef Jeremy Fox’s delicious farmers market-inspired cuisine that’s ever-evolving. “I can find pretty much any ingredient I want right here in California, and I’m okay doing without the ones I can’t find,” says Fox, who’s releasing his long-awaited cookbook, On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen ($50, Phaidon, Barnes & Noble, The Grove), this month. The book, which features 160 vegetarian recipes that range from a carrot juice cavatelli to borage and ricotta dumplings, gives readers the proper instructions to purchase, store and prepare myriad vegcentric dishes. Here, the chef who describes his cooking style as “all over the place” lets us in on his new tome.
Why did you decide to write On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen?
I was supposed to write this book seven years ago, but life [got in the way]. When I found out I was going to be a father, I [decided that I] wanted to put something out into the world that [my daughter] could be proud of one day.
What are your favorite recipes in the book?
I’ve enjoyed seeing how varied the responses have been [to my] peas, white chocolate and macadamia recipe—people either adore it or hate it, and not much in between. I [also like] the grilled cheese—who doesn’t love a grilled cheese?
The book highlights your philosophy of seed-to-stalk cooking. Tell us about that.
It began with my previous love of cooking pork and all of the possibilities from using every part—respecting the animal and using [each piece] is the right thing to do and the same goes for vegetables.
David Chang wrote the cookbook’s foreword. How did that come about?
Chang and I bonded because we are both young chefs who achieved sudden success and felt immense pressure to maintain that. Chang obviously did a better job at that, but he was always there [to give me] advice.
What do you hope readers will take away?
[That] they will be less intimidated by vegetables and come up with fun [recipes] that they can share with me.