An Evening with Samin Nosrat

March 10, 2019 · 7:30pm
Benaroya Hall, S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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“When Samin Nosrat laughs, she tilts her whole body back and fills the room with sound, uproariously, not unlike Julia Child. If Netflix was looking for a successor to that cooking icon, it found one.”— Time Magazine

“Nosrat’s talent for elegantly and exuberantly articulating technique and the science behind it is rare.”— Saveur Magazine

Samin Nosrat explains her simple, universal philosophy of Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat. Hosted by Seattle Times food writer Bethany Jean Clement, this evening promises to be an unforgettable journey with Netflix’ newest culinary star.

She begins with her own realizations, while working in the Chez Panisse kitchen, about how these four elements are common to all good cooking. She carefully explains the what and how behind salt, fat, acid and heat. With this basic understanding of how to approach cooking like a great cook, professional or not, hopeful home cooks will leave with an idea about where to start, how to put it into action and where the constraints come in.

No matter who you are, what kitchen you find yourself in, and the day or season, every time you set out to cook, you’re faced with a unique set of constraints. Sometimes, it’s time (maybe you’ve got a cranky toddler that needs dinner in 20 minutes or he’ll lose his mind). Sometimes, its ingredients (maybe you just got home from a long trip and can’t be bothered with grocery shopping) so you have to use what’s on hand. Or you just found out you have to unexpectedly go out of town the next day and you have a fridge full of produce. Or maybe it’s resources (maybe your kitchen is tiny and you have no counter space). Or it’s too hot to consider turning on the oven. Or it’s Thanksgiving and oven space is limited. Or you’re camping and all you have to cook over is a fire. Maybe you have to cook for a family of five on a tight budget all week long. Or maybe your constraint is just personal preference (maybe your friends are coming over for dinner but one is paleo and another is vegan). What do you make?

Constraints determine what we can and should cook. Professionals write menus not by whim, but by taking these constraints into consideration. Samin shares how to think about constraints, and how to decide what to cook without sweating it. She opens the door to becoming a more relaxed, intuitive cook, able to make a delicious meal using what’s right before you.

About the author:

As an undergraduate studying English at UC Berkeley, Samin Nosrat took a detour into the kitchen at Chez Panisse restaurant that happily determined the course of her life and career. Since 2000, she pursued her twin passions of food and words.

Nosrat learned to cook at Chez Panisse, in Italy alongside Benedetta Vitali and Dario Cecchini, and at (the no longer existing) Eccolo in Berkeley. She studied poetry with Robert Hass, Shakespeare with Stephen Booth, and journalism with Michael Pollan. She has said that Alice Waters and farmer Bob Cannard taught her more about land stewardship than anyone else.

Her book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking was illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton. It is a New York Times bestseller, and also 2018 James Beard General Cookbook of the Year, 2018 Fortnum & Mason Debut Cookbook, 2018 IACP Cookbook of the Year, 2018 IACP Julia Child First Book Award, and Sunday Times Food Book of the Year 2017. A documentary series based on the book is now streaming on Netflix. In 2018 she was named the Eater Chef of the Year. She is also one of five food columnists for the New York Times Magazine.

Samin Nostrat has spoken about food, art, culture and cooking at venues as diverse as the Oakland Unified School District Nutrition Services, UC Berkeley, Yale University, SFMoMA, St. Mary’s College, University of San Francisco, the Orange Institute, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), and Artechef, the Cuban national cooking school.

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