Winner, James Beard Foundation Best Cookbook of the Year Award, 2015
James Beard Foundation Best International Cookbook Award, 2015
The Art of Eating Prize for Best Food Book of the Year, 2015
The Yucatán Peninsula is home to one of the world's great regional cuisines. With a foundation of native Maya dishes made from fresh local ingredients, it shares much of the same pantry of ingredients and many culinary practices with the rest of Mexico. Yet, due to its isolated peninsular location, it was also in a unique position to absorb the foods and flavors of such far-flung regions as Spain and Portugal, France, Holland, Lebanon and the Levant, Cuba and the Caribbean, and Africa. In recent years, gourmet magazines and celebrity chefs have popularized certain Yucatecan dishes and ingredients, such as Sopa de lima and achiote, and global gastronomes have made the pilgrimage to Yucatán to tantalize their taste buds with smoky pit barbecues, citrus-based pickles, and fiery chiles. But until now, the full depth and richness of this cuisine has remained little understood beyond Yucatán's borders.
An internationally recognized authority on Yucatecan cuisine, chef David Sterling takes you on a gastronomic tour of the peninsula in this unique cookbook, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. Presenting the food in the places where it's savored, Sterling begins in jungle towns where Mayas concoct age-old recipes with a few simple ingredients they grow themselves. He travels over a thousand miles along the broad Yucatán coast to sample a bounty of seafood; shares "the people's food"at bakeries, chicharronerías, street vendors, home restaurants, and cantinas; and highlights the cooking of the peninsula's three largest cities—Campeche, Mérida, and Valladolid—as well as a variety of pueblos noted for signature dishes. Throughout the journey, Sterling serves up over 275 authentic, thoroughly tested recipes that will appeal to both novice and professional cooks. He also discusses pantry staples and basic cooking techniques and offers substitutions for local ingredients that may be hard to find elsewhere. Profusely illustrated and spiced with lively stories of the region's people and places, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition is the long-awaited definitive work on this distinctive cuisine.
"I know of no other book in print today, or in the past for that matter, that explains so meticulously the ingredients and history of the foods of Yucatán."
"Lavishly produced, with hundreds of photographs, Yucatan is part travelogue, part history, part encyclopedia, written in an unexpectedly casual, engaging style."
The New York Times Book Review
"Endorsements from Mexican culinary expert Diana Kennedy come few and far between, so Sterling, the founder of Los Dos Cooking School, must know what he’s doing. At 500-plus pages and coffee-table size, the book is sure to be a long-term, definitive reference guide. "
"Beyond Sterling's encyclopedic and meticulously-researched knowledge of Yucatecan food, his love for and connection to the region and its fare are evident on every page; it is rare to find such humble passion and vigor in a volume that is so comprehensive and informational."
"David Sterling’s Yucatán would be a remarkable book in any year and sets a high bar for future aspirants to The Art of Eating Prize. It’s an impressively synoptic portrait of a little-known region and its rich food culture, the product of years of immersive experience and study, whose genial prose, copious photographs, and approachable recipes work together beautifully to communicate the vitality of Yucatecan cooking."
Art of Eating Prize
"Starting the book knowing nothing about the Yucatan, except that it looks like a nice place to go on vacation, I quickly realized I was in the hands of an expert. I was easily drawn into the narrative of this ideologically isolated peninsula, even when that narrative had nothing whatsoever to do with food. History, geography, biology – you’ll get a little bit of everything with this book. Of course, eventually it all ties back to food and cooking, and I don’t know if there was a single recipe in this book that I wasn’t interested in trying."
Katie at the Kitchen Door
"Sterling does a great job as a culinary travel guide, offering the inside scoop on the people, places, and ingredients of one of the world’s greatest regional cuisines."
Albuquerque's Local IQ
"David Sterling must have taken great joy in putting this book together, for it reflects tireless research that was surely driven by an intense desire to learn as much as possible about the cuisine and the culinary traditions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula."
"Whether you want to learn how to cook this cuisine or just want to take a trip (without the airplane ride) this book is worth the effort to consume."
Portland Book Review
"David Sterling has possibly penned the reader of the year with his six-and-a-half pound, 576-page Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition, surely the most authoritative tome that land’s cuisine has ever seen."
Star News Online
"In the lavishly illustrated book, Sterling, who runs a cooking school in Mexico, pulls together the various ethnic and cultural strands that make up Yucatecan cooking—influences from France, Spain and Portugal, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean."
The Los Angeles Times