Last September Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, announced that Anthony Bourdain (chef, crime novelist, No Reservations guy, friend-of-Chang, occasional writer of Treme episodes, etc.) would have his own line of books, one that would publish a small handful of titles every year. Well, yesterday Ecco announced the first three titles, all to be published in 2013. Ta-da.
“This will be a line of books for people with strong voices who are GOOD at something — who speak with authority,” Bourdain said in a press release. “Discern nothing from this initial list — other than a general affection for people who cook food and like food. The ability to kick people in the head is just as compelling to us — as long as that's coupled with an ability to vividly describe the experience. We are just as intent on crossing genres as we are enthusiastic about our first three authors. It only gets weirder from here.”
OK, so the first three titles are pretty great. As one would expect given that Daniel Halpern, Ecco's president and publisher, is editing and that Ecco already publishes things from Bourdain, Mario Batali, Leonard Cohen, Czeslaw Milosz, Charles Bukowski, Robert Hass and Werner Herzog. Imagine the galleys. Imagine the signing parties.
The titles? Spaghetti Junction: Riding Shotgun With an L.A. Chef, by this town's very own Roy Choi (Kogi, Chego, A-Frame and, well, you know who he is). Described as a “memoir-cum-cookbook,” Choi's book will explore L.A. street food and give some of the chef's considerably interesting backstory. Then there's Prophets of Smoked Meat, by Daniel Vaughn, who runs the website “Full Custom Gospel BBQ,” has eaten at way more Texas BBQ places than you have, and whom Bourdain has given the awfully cute nickname of “the Yoda of Barbecue.” (See above re signing parties.) The third title is Fight Shark, by Mark Miller. The kickboxing champion's memoir about, well, probably kickboxing. Miller is also the only fighter to ever return to competition after undergoing open heart surgery. No, we don't know who his cardiologist is. Read the book.
For all you Roy Choi fans, who are of course legion, you can do better than clogging up the freaking tiny parking lot at Chego — and instead follow along via Facebook, Twitter (“Let's ride”) and the Riding Shotgun website. Or I guess you could read The Hollywood Reporter.
Full disclosure: Choi is writing Spaghetti Junction with Natasha Phan and frequent Squid Ink contributor, sort-of-not-really-friend-of-Jane-Lynch and caffeine addict Tien Nguyen. We did not really know this until yesterday.