Part 2: The Cookbook

This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most import elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.

The Cookbook

They say that admitting you have a problem is half the solution. If only that same math could be attached to achieving a goal. The exact date is not known to me but sometime during the year of our Lord, two thousand three I had an epiphany that not only did I want to be a chef, but I wanted to do it in front of a camera.

The problem was I was not working in the food industry. For the past three and a half years I had been working at a 1-800 call center for a rental car company. In fact, I had not cooked professionally since the spring of 1998. In December of ‘98 I moved from Nashville back to my hometown of Mobile, AL. I thought with my experience I would surely be able to get a job in a restaurant. After all I had worked in a dynamic city and had excelled in what was a booming restaurant scene.

The problem was that Mobile’s restaurant scene was fading. My experience was useless as no one was hiring. I tried starting my own Internet business, I worked at a cultural exhibit, played a few music gigs, but still the restaurant jobs eluded me. When the call-center opened a few miles from my home it seemed I was doomed to life in a cubical.

Without a commercial kitchen to vent my culinary artistic whims I did my best in the tiny apartment kitchen at my disposal. This was a challenge as the oven was so small that standard cookie sheets would not even fit in it. Never the less I cooked, honing recipes, learning techniques, doing anything I could to improve my skills.

Through this period I had created several recipes that are best described as Mexican/Creole Fusion. Those recipes included my Creole White Chili that my company had twice prepared in the Mobile Chili Cook-off. The dish was well received. I began compiling these recipes in the hopes of writing a cookbook.

Through my days as a wannabe Internet entrepreneur I had become familiar with a company called 4 Star T-shirts & More! who did print-on-demand T-shirts, hats and other cloth materials. They were adding a new print section to their store. On July 23, 2004 my first cookbook, Amigeauxs – Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine went on sale via their web site. It wasn’t professional cooking but it was better than nothing. Most importantly I had taken my first step towards building credibility.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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