Chef Joshua McFadden’s first cookbook, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, will hit bookstore shelves on May 2, and just like the menus at his restaurant, Ava Gene’s, it puts vegetables in the spotlight, while thoughtfully including meats and seafood. Speaking with Eater, McFadden says the book is meant to start a conversation around seasonality, and it offers six seasons rather than the common four, to highlight the fact that each variety of vegetable and fruit has its own peak season.
“I wanted to create a larger conversation around the idea of seasonal eating,” McFadden tells Eater. “Awareness is still growing, but I think people are still getting confused because—well, you can get a pineapple in the grocery store at anytime of year.”
Martha Holmberg, author of the James Beard Award-nominated Modern Sauces and contributing writer to Jeffery Morgenthaler’s The Bar Book, helped to write Six Seasons. The 385-page cookbook comes out on Artisan, an imprint of Workman Publishing, and features color photography and 225 vegetable-focused recipes.
Six Seasons does not focus on Ava Gene’s recipes, but McFadden says all the recipes exhibit the Ava Gene’s approach to cooking. The first 60 pages share the fundamentals of stocking your kitchen, preserving things, and making sauces, so “people can easily dress up veggies” without having to go to the grocery store.
“I’m always trying to convey the point that, once you know how to make a dish, you get to reuse that recipe in a bunch of ways,” says McFadden.
The remainder offers recipes in order with the seasons, with up-close looks at individual types of produce, from how to choose the perfect asparagus to cooking with broccoli stems and carrot tops. It’s clear McFadden is serious about introducing vegetables on a new level.
On April 29, four days before the official release, signed copies will be available at Ava Gene’s, and McFadden will hold two events for the cookbook launch. The first is a dinner at Ava Gene’s on May 4, featuring an á la carte menu of dishes from the cookbook, followed by an afterparty that’s open to the public at Tusk. McFadden and Holmberg will also appear at Powell’s City of Books on June 12.