Chef John Currence’s ‘Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey’

Posted on Oct 8 2013 - 7:02am by Sara Baker
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John currence signing his book for a fan during a book signing in oxford Oct. 1.
Photo by Dexavier Sturdevant | The Daily Mississippian

Chef John Currence, owner of Oxford’s City Grocery, is no stranger to success. He has been the recipient of several awards, including Chef of the Year and Best Chef South, and has gained endless praise with the City Grocery Restaurant Group, which also includes the Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast, and Boure.

The creative mind behind many of Oxford’s favorite restaurants is once again reaching new goals. Currence recently gained ownership of his newest restaurant, Lamar Lounge, a non-profit project benefiting children’s philanthropies in the Oxford area.

Now, for the first time, Currence is publishing a cookbook, Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some. The highly anticipated debut cookbook is not only about great food, but also about the soul of its author.

“This book is a very personal sort of endeavor,” Currence says, “and getting from start to finish was arduous.”

This first cookbook holds 130 of the creative recipes one would expect from this particular chef, including Pickled Sweet Potatoes, Deep South “Ramen”, and Rabbit Cacciatore.

“I’d rather punch you in the mouth with kick-ass flavors than poke you in the eye with complicated presentations,” states Currence in Pickles, Pigs, & Whiskey.

Currence shows his diverse knowledge of food and his quirky approach to cooking by separating the book into sections such as, “Pickling & Canning” and “Slathering, Smearing & Squirting.”

In another creative twist, Currence has also written about his life and experiences as a chef in Pickles, Pigs, & Whiskey.

“It shows my journey from my first job working on a tugboat and then here, to Oxford,” Currence states.

The book is filled with Currence’s personality, from his personal history and stories to the creative spirit that has made his restaurants so famous and delicious.  He describes moments in New Orleans, Western Europe and the Eastern Seaboard to connect with readers, reaching our hearts through the kitchen.

Throughout the book, Currence shows his love for the South, especially the community of Oxford, Mississippi.

According to the City Grocery Restaurant Group website, “This book illustrates why Southern food is finally recognized as the driving force in the American culinary movement today.”

“The whole thing is important,” Currence says about his book. “It really frames how Oxford has been important to me and illustrates why. The support from Oxford, from the people and the alumni and everyone, has been incredible.”

As it is, many cannot wait for Currence’s cookbook to hit stores, to read about the life of this important Oxford Chef and to attempt some of his amazing recipes.

“After going to BBB for years, being from Oxford, I am so excited to finally learn how to cook from the man who has been so successful in this town!” exclaims Sara Beth Childers, sophomore Elementary Education major.

Look for Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey, available October 29th and now available for pre-order online. With the creativity, soul, and great food within, it will not be a disappointment.