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About Lesley Suter
Lesley Bargar Suter is a two-time James Beard Award winning editor, writer, and cookbook author living in Los Angeles. She was the acting food editor at Los Angeles magazine for 10 years before moving on to launch Eater Travel, where she continues to cover the delicious intersection of food, culture, and identity.
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IACP AWARD FINALIST
Since opening in downtown Los Angeles in 2012, Bestia has captivated diners with its bold, satisfying, and flavor-forward food served in a festive, communal atmosphere. Now, in this accessible and immersive debut cookbook, all of the incredible dishes that have made Bestia one of the most talked-about restaurants in the country are on full display. Rooted in the flavors and techniques of Italian regional cooking, these recipes include inventive hits like fennel-crusted pork chops; meatballs with ricotta, tomato, greens, and preserved lemon; and agnolotti made with cacao pasta dough. Irresistible desserts such as apple cider donuts and a chocolate budino tart, from co-owner and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, end the concert of flavors on a high note. With chapters on making bread, pasta, and charcuterie; sections on stocks and sauces; and new ideas for getting the most from your cooking by layering flavors, Bestia delivers a distinctively innovative approach to Italian-inspired cooking.
“Ori and Genevieve manage to pull off a style of cooking that is both familiar (and therefore comforting) but also new (and therefore fresh and exciting). This is the sort of food I could live on.”—Yotam Ottolenghi
When chef Ori Menashe and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis opened their first Los Angeles restaurant, Bestia, the city fell in love. By the time they launched their second restaurant, Bavel, the love affair had expanded to cooks and food lovers nationwide. Bavel, the cookbook, invites home cooks to explore the broad and varied cuisines of the Middle East through fragrant spice blends; sublime zhougs, tahini, labneh, and hummus; rainbows of crisp-pickled vegetables; tender, oven-baked flatbreads; fall-off-the-bone meats and tagines; buttery pastries and tarts; and so much more.
Bavel—pronounced bah-VELLE, the Hebrew name for Babel—is a metaphor for the myriad cultural, spiritual, and political differences that divide us. The food of Bavel tells the many stories of the countries defined as “the Middle East.” These recipes are influenced by the flavors and techniques from all corners of the region, and many, such as Tomato with Smoked Harissa, Turmeric Chicken with Toum, and Date-Walnut Tart, are inspired by Menashe’s Israeli upbringing and Gergis’s Egyptian roots. Bavel celebrates the freedom to cook what we love without loyalty to any specific country, and represents a world before the region was divided into separate nations. This is cooking without borders.