John Janeczko, food Instagramer
Mouth-watering shrimp with squash and yucca chocolate cake are wonderful to eat at Samba Brazilian Restaurant, but cooking these delights can also be quite an experience. Ilson Goncalves, owner of Samba, has authored “The Samba Montclair Cookbook.”
Samba Montclair is a cozy restaurant in downtown Montclair. Soothing Latin music lends to the environment and homestyle Brazilian food is served.
The idea for the cookbook came after Goncalves was on the “Today Show” in August. He spoke to a few other authors and decided to write a book of his own.
What’s yucca got to do with it?
A lot, actually. A recipe such as the shrimp with squash is his mother’s creation, while the yucca chocolate cake is his own invention.
He recently graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and came away with a desire to create beautiful and delicious food while avoiding certain chemicals that come in ready-made spices as well as other unhealthy ingredients.
“After I graduated I went to Morocco to do my internship and learn about spices,” said Goncalves. “Everything here I make myself, if someone has an allergy or reaction I can explain what I am using in my food.”
Whoever buys the book the evening of Oct. 17 will receive a sample of the spices Goncalves has mixed. Goncalves said he tries to buy local as much as he can. He also stated, “The book is almost all gluten free and I have vegan options.”
The art on the cover of the book features one of his favorite creations… gnocchi, well, yucca gnocchi to be exact.
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When asked if he had to change his cooking methods after going to school in the United States he said, “I reeducated myself. I don’t eat just because I want to eat. I want to eat for my health…”
Goncalves said he wanted to know where food comes from, how much sugar recipes have, even what kind of salt is being used. He explained he likes Himalayan pink salt and kosher salt.
“I believe that food is our medicine,” said Goncalves, who explained that even with good food, the amount of food one eats should be controlled.
When asked if he ever thought about teaching cooking classes, he said not quite yet, but that people have asked him that question in the past and now he is open to the idea.
Goncalves isn’t sure if he will embark on a book tour but says the book will soon be available on Amazon, iBook and Barnes & Noble online. He also plans to host a few more local book signings in the near future.
Goncalves will launch his book with a cocktail reception and book signing at Samba Brazilian Restaurant on 7 Park St. in Montclair on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public. Books sell for $39.
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