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My Beverly Hills Kitchen – Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist by Alex Hitz

My-Beverly-Hills-Kitchen

I read a superb New York Times article by Guy Trebay recently with the heading, Guess Who Isn’t Coming to Dinner. In it, Trebay laments (along with Alex Hitz and others), the death of the dinner party and the passing of those who made such an art of them.

Certainly a lot has changed over these past decades, and much of those changes were a detriment to actual face-to-face conversation, let alone sit-down meals with friends. Aside from the usual culprits (i.e., fast food, home entertainment centers, facebook, etc.), I’m guessing that a lot of people these days are simply a bit intimidated by the idea of hosting dinner parties. Fear not, Alex Hitz’s fantastic book My Beverly Hills Kitchen, Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist to the rescue! Go out and get it, and then, if you’re still feeling a bit shaky about the whole thing, take Hitz’s advice and assurance; “…serve chicken potpie and a salad, make sure there’s plenty of wine and keep the lights low. How can it go wrong?”

Chef Hitz, (and we’re keeping our scope narrow here–Hitz has achieved honors in quite a few careers!), grew up in a cosmopolitan home in Atlanta, and his Southern cuisine is a celebration of those classic home cooked and, in some cases, nearly lost Southern recipes, infusing them with a French (think Julia Childs) sensibility. These step by step recipes have been tried and tested dozens of times, Hitz emphasizes, and many over a lifetime, so you can be sure that they are easy enough for anyone to make and good enough to please the palette of even the most sophisticated foodie. We particularly like the chapter, Kitchen Notes, which includes some truly sage advice on getting one’s kitchen in order to make cooking a much more pleasurable process.

As for us, we’re looking forward to hosting our own WIJW Christmas Eve dinner—that is, with help from Chef Hitz. It promises to be a smashing success! Here’s what we’ll be serving:

hitz-wijw-menu

Our menu was created from the great many recipes you’ll find in Hitz’s book. We’re sure you’ll find a few recipes to suit your own holiday creations! Hitz as thoughtfully provided WIJW with a few images (below) to give us some idea of the delights that await.

Beef tenderloin. Chef Hitz - From a luncheon honoring Dennis Hopper.

Perfect Roast Tenderloin of Beef tenderloin. Chef Hitz - From a luncheon honoring Dennis Hopper.

Gratin Dauphinois aka "Potatoes Patio"  a legendary dish from Alex Hitz's Atlanta restaurant, The Patio by the River

Gratin Dauphinois aka "Potatoes Patio" - a legendary dish from Chef Hitz's Atlanta restaurant, The Patio by the River

Chef Hitz - Perfect Asaparagus

Chef Hitz - Perfect Asaparagus

Chef Hitz - Coconut Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Chef Hitz - Coconut Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Collectively this season, I hope all of our WIJW readers will join us in our efforts to revive the grand old tradition of the dinner party, regaining that “…sense of fun and community” Hitz speaks of, “…gathering people together for good simple food.” (Hitz, New York Times)

14 Comments

  1. wendy woo says:

    Wonderful and inspiring!

  2. James Andrew says:

    Darling Wendy,

    This book is just beyond fabulous!

    I am wildly crazy about Hitz’s cuisine and his book will certainly get people in the spirit of wanting to entertain.

    Here’s to dinner parties!

    Cheers

    JA

  3. Gayle Maccia says:

    It all looks amazing and adore a great Host or Hostess. I throw dinner parties every chance I can get. Great Post.

  4. Love the menu, the call to entertain, the fact these recipes have been tested and perfected, and I look forward to reading the kitchen notes, too.
    Cheers!

  5. James Andrew says:

    Dear Philip,

    This book is so terrific- lush photos and very straight forward easy to follow recipes will have you cooking up a storm!

    I am sure an invite to one of your dinners will be most coveted.

    Cheers

    JA

  6. I met Mr. Hitz for the first time here in Nashville last month and I adore him and his talents! I put his cookbook to use over Thanksgiving and many are still talking about my dishes! Thanks for a wonderful article JAMES!

  7. James Andrew says:

    Dear Jonathan,

    It was my great pleasure to share Alex Hitz’s brilliant new book!

    I am wildly crazy about his brand of comfort food and I can’t wait to do my part to save the dinner party.

    Cheers

    JA

  8. Richard Harries says:

    Hi James, I find that, even though a simple meal is perfectly acceptable, even preferable, many people still feel uncomfortable about entertaining with cooking at home. I’m sure it’s an insecurity about table conversation, which is a simple yet diminished skill. So often when I’m in a restaurant with friends, the conversation turns to surroundings, and surrounding people. And complaints! Complaints about people, food, the venue, complaints about life in general. So boring, and so rude! Bad manners abound, and for younger people, it becomes harder to form a complete circle of friends with good manners, table and otherwise.

  9. Chic and yum! Am a big fan of AH!

  10. James Andrew says:

    Darling Allison,

    I cannot put this book down, I have already made several of these recipes and they are all just beyond simple and yet so sublime.

    When is your dinner party?

    Cheers

    JA

  11. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Richard,

    I am sure by stellar example you will inspire those around you to get with the program.

    I sense you would also do quite well with Alex Hitz’s cook book.

    The food that you create for your guests will be so beyond sublime that an invitation to one of your dinners will be most coveted and everyone will be forced to behave rather well.

    Cheers

    JA

  12. tom samet says:

    This man can cook .. every recipe better than the next! “Let the dinner parties begin” ….

  13. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Tom,

    These recipes are so sublime and actually quite easy to prepare.

    So when is your next dinner party?

    Cheers

    JA

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