Vesta Dipping Grill cookbook now on sale at a store near you
I have, in my grubby little hands, a copy of the just-published Vesta Dipping Grill cookbook, 151 pages of recipes (including chef Matt Selby's fifty dipping sauces), hot food porn, biographies of Selby and owners Josh and Jen Wolkon (who also run Steuben's) and a section on the "Vesta Vibe," which includes lines like, "When staff members and purveyors walk through Vesta's flaming back door and into the kitchen, they are often greeted with an uproarious cheer that can't help but elicit a smile. It takes an even more joyous greeting on Fridays, when the kitchen staff is in its Jimmy Buffet attire."
Self-published by Selby and Wolkon, the cookbook took a year and a half from inception to completion, an experience that Selby says was full of highs -- and a few lows. "It was great to reminisce with Josh about our opening days, while being able to see how far we've come with both Vesta and Steuben's, and it was great to have an outlet that celebrates our staff and gives recognition to our owners and managers," notes Selby.
But the food photo shoot, which took place over a mere two days, and was a collaboration between Selby and former executive chef Wade Kirwan, wasn't easy. "Wade and I did every single food picture in the book, and it was very demanding work that, quite frankly, two experienced cooks just weren't ready for, although when I look at the pictures now, it makes me much more proud of the book."
Selby's favorite recipe in the cookbook is the Korean barbecue-cured foie gras with nori caramel, coconut rice fritters, green papaya salad and Korean pear dressing. "That dish really speaks to my signature style -- and the Vesta style," says Selby, adding that it's "worldly, eclectic and grounded in technique." And if the recipes looks difficult in print, Selby insists that they're much simpler than they sound. But if you want to a dish that's a bit more accessible, Selby recommends the shrimp and scallop ceviche, which we've reprinted on the following page. "It's cut-and-dry and super, super easy," promises Selby.
The cookbook, which retails for $29.95, is available at the Tattered Cover LoDo, The Perfect Petal, Decade, The Truffle, Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, Boulder Bookstore and Peppercorn, also in Boulder, and, of course, Vesta and Steuben's. You can also purchase it online at www.vestagrill.com.