WESTPORT, Conn -- She may have done the writing, but Westport author Ramin Ganeshram says she's most proud of the fact that the kids who told her their stories and shared their recipes for her latest book, "Future Chefs" are getting the recognition they deserve.
That acknowledgement is the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for this curated collection of 150 recipes drawn from the experiences of young cooks across America, spanning a variety of diverse social and cultural experiences.
Ganeshram, a journalist and author of six books (four under her own name; two ghostwritten), said this award is overwhelming.
"The other books in the category are both incredibly beautiful and worthy, one even has a foreword by Katie Couric," she said. "I felt sure the real battle would play out between those two and 'FutureChefs' would be the runner-up."
The longtime journalist -- she's a former news reporter who contributed to The New York Times regional sections and also worked as a food writer and magazine editor -- says her favorite topics are about history and culture.
"That's why the books and articles I write, whether about food or not, always tell the story or history of people or ingredients or events," said Ganeshram.
"I'll never be the person to do a restaurant review, for example, because that's fleeting. But ask me to explore how food creates a sense of place and I'm your writer. I also really love to explore stories that have been lost and are surprising when they are retold."
On the burner is another middle reader novel, along with her first novel for adults. Both are historical culinary fiction. And she has another project brewing around the idea of "FutureChefs." Not to mention a coconut cookbook in the works.
"As a person of Caribbean and Iranian heritage, coconut has always been pretty run of the mill to me. But it was watching my Westport friends and neighbors suddenly adore it and adopt it as a super-food that made me think there was something there for a book," she said.
The born and bred New Yorker can be found shopping in Westport at Balducci's, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and dining at the Spotted Horse, Señor Salsa and Kibberia.
"I like places where food is prepared freshest and well, rather than what is fancy," she said.
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