Behind the Scenes: Writing the Cookbook by Eric Silverstein
One thing people (hopefully) won’t realize in reading the book is that I did not have a lot of time to write it! I think we finalized the deal with Sterling Publishing in late November, and the due date to have a draft of the manuscript submitted was sometime in early March. That left me a little over three months to write all of the memoir portion of the book and then of course, the 100 recipes. On top of that, I had to schedule photo shoots with my photographer, Carli Rene of Inked Fingers.
The process required me to stick to a schedule. Every day I was writing a recipe or two, and then on the weekends I would try and test 4-5 in my home kitchen if I wasn’t at one of the restaurants or on a catering event. During the week, in addition to writing the recipes, I was working with Carli on a shot list. We had seven total photo sessions in Austin, and then I sent Carli to Tokyo, Japan to capture my early food and cultural influences as a child. Photos were such an important part of the book. For me, the photos needed to tell our story and capture the depth of our journey from food truck to a multi-faceted hospitality company. We also had to gather over one hundred releases from employees and customers who were featured in the book. I remember Carli had to pass these out to our guests on a Friday night since we wanted to capture the magic of a busy service.
In retrospect, I’m impressed we got it done. There was a lot of back and forth coordination between Carli and I. Additionally, this was my first book and I was learning a lot of the procedural elements to writing a book on the fly. I had to get used to including a lot of abbreviations within the manuscript. For instance, <HN> signaled a headnote. Not only was I in constant communication with Carli scheduling photography, but I was also in communication with Jennifer Williams at Sterling, my editor. She was coaching me on how to write the book, what order I had to list my ingredients for the recipes, and the subtle details I was missing within the recipes.
I’m proud of the final product. I think the hard work and effort shines through each page of the cookbook. The learning curve was steep but the journey was worth it. I’m happy with where we arrived.
About the Book
Eric Silverstein’s background in Asian food culture and, later, his immersion in Southern and Southwestern cuisine, inspires the cooking at his hip restaurant, The Peached Tortilla, in Austin, Texas. Locals and visitors to Austin are conveniently introduced to his restaurant concept through the airport location, one of four locations in The Peached Tortilla brand. It’s restaurants like The Peached Tortilla that have made Austin into a dining destination. Eric's new cookbook, The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas (Sterling Publishing, May 7, 2019), is filled with 100 flavor-packed recipes, including many of the restaurant’s most beloved dishes, like the Banh Mi Taco, Japajam Burger, and Bacon Jam Fries, which gained a cult-like following when Silverstein first served them out of his famed Austin-based food truck. Other crowd-pleasing favorites range from crispy Umami Fried Chicken and Korean Short Rib Pappardelle with Smoked Crème Fraiche to Asian Pear Miso Salad and Roasted Cauliflower with Nori Brown Butter. Part cookbook, part memoir, Eric (who practiced law before throwing in his briefcase for an apron) weaves his fascinating (and sometimes agonizing) life story throughout each chapter. Silverstein, named one of Plate Magazine’s “30 Up and Coming Chefs in America” and a “Rising Star” by FSR Magazine, has been featured in People, The New York Times, Kiplinger’s, and Food and Wine, as well as on Live! with Kelly and Michael, Food Network and The Cooking Channel. Featuring full-color photos, detailed how-to’s, extensive noodle and Asian food glossaries, and Eric’s own eclectic touches and cooking advice on almost every page, The Peached Tortilla is Asian fusion at its best, delivering soulsatisfying comfort food with a kick!
About the Author
Founder & owner of The Peached Tortilla, Eric Silverstein, did not take the traditional route into the hospitality world. The former litigator always had a passion for food and aspired to become an entrepreneur, so he decided to combine the two by opening a food truck. His first truck opened in Austin in September 2010, and The Peached Tortilla empire has since expanded into a fleet of food trucks, three brick-and-mortar restaurants, and a full-service catering business and event space, Peached Social House. He opened a new fast casual outpost of The Peached Tortilla in the AustinBergstrom International Airport in the spring of 2018, and his most recent project, Bar Peached, opened January 2019. Silverstein was born in Tokyo, Japan, where he lived for 10 years before moving to Atlanta, GA. Then in 2010, at the age of 27, he ventured to Austin for the sunny weather and friendly people. It was his upbringing in both the Peach State and his “atypical” approach to food that inspired Silverstein to name his business “The Peached Tortilla.” His style of cooking is heavily influenced by Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian cuisine from his time growing up in Japan, with hints of flavors from his time spent in the South. Silverstein is a founding partner of the ‘Trailer Food Tuesday’ series that takes place each summer at Austin’s Long Center and a brand ambassador for TouchBistro. When Silverstein isn’t working, he spends his time eating out at restaurants around Austin, hanging out with his wife, Kristine, and their young son, Niko, and watching his favorite sports teams.