Q & A with Editor Sara Liss About Her Debut Book Miami Cooks

Sara Liss has been reporting on the Miami food scene for over fifteen years after serving ten years as a senior food writer at Miami.com and five years as the editor of UrbanDaddy Miami. She has built a career by highlighting the coolest culinary talents and discovering flavors from around the world. In her debut cookbook, Miami Cooks, out of Figure 1 Books this fall, she highlights chefs and recipes from 35 of Miami’s most popular restaurants, Brickell’s La Mar and Boulud Sud, to Wynwood’s KYU and South Beach’s Sardinia.

How did the book come about?

Over a year ago I was approached by Figure 1 Publishing to add Miami to their popular collection of city cookbooks, published three years ago in the United States with Portland, and which include promised food cities such as Seattle, Vancouver, and Houston. When putting the restaurants together, I tried to find a good mix of hotel properties, hidden gems, mom and pop homes, and family owned places.

What did you learn about Miami’s food scene that surprised you the most while working on this book?

Everyone is connected. Although I’ve been writing about Miami’s food scene for 15 years, I haven’t fully realized the scope of connectivity. Most of the chefs featured at Miami Cooks had either worked with another chef in the book at some point, or attended the same cooking school, or worked under the same mentor or at the same restaurant at one time. I don’t know why I was so surprised, but the book really is kind of a family tree of Miami chefs.

What cooking experience do people need to prepare these recipes?

The book covers all levels, from a simple Persian carrot stew (from Fooq’s) to a more labor-intensive cauliflower with huancaina sauce and yuzu foam (from Beaker and Gray). There are also a few cocktail recipes if you need some fluid guts to tackle challenging dishes.

The book is also a feast for the eyes.

Yes! In addition to the impressive recipes, I think what I’m most excited about in this book is the spectacular photography by our local superstar Michael Pisarri. The food shots and chef portraits are of the highest order, and these, combined with the sleek hardcover design, make this a lovely addition to any kitchen bookcase or coffee table.

So where can we get Miami Cooks?

Any restaurant will benefit from the sales of the books if you shop directly at the restaurant (a full list can be found here). You can also support local support by purchasing from Books and Books – both online and in-store. And of course it’s available on Amazon.

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