In their western Massachusetts-based restaurant Coco & The Cellar Bar, chefs Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor create well-balanced, boldly flavored signature dishes shaped by Abkin’s Korean and Mexican-American upbringing. In Curry & Kimchi, they open their kitchen secrets up to the home cook, sharing their foundational dressings, salsas, broths, and infused oils and the dishes that feature them, through recipes that are delightfully simple to execute and beautifully complex in flavor. Honey Miso Dressing lends full-bodied taste to Honey Miso Noodle Salad, while Shoyu Ramen Broth (made in an Instant Pot) is the key ingredient in Coco Shoyu Ramen. Other favorites include a Korean-inspired take on Bolognese sauce for Korean Spaghetti and Korean Sloppy Joes, Chow Fun Sauce (for Coriander Shrimp Chow Fun), Scallion Ginger Jam (for Clay Pot Miso Chicken), and Ponzu Sauce (for Miso-Glazed Cod Rice Bowl). Together with vivid restaurant photography that shows elegant plating suggestions, Abkin and Taylor’s recipes give home cooks the building blocks to preparing meals with remarkable clarity of flavor.
Unmi Abkin’s early relationship with food centered around longing. As an orphaned child in South Korea, she experienced hunger on a daily basis. Eventually adopted by a Jewish-American father and a Mexican mother, Abkin was steeped in diverse food traditions. Flavor was a revelation that ultimately defined her passion for food. A graduate of California Culinary Academy, she interned at Chez Panisse and worked at Boulevard Restaurant before opening her first restaurant 25 years ago. Abkin now owns the Easthampton, Massachusetts-based restaurant Coco & The Cellar Bar with her husband, Roger Taylor, and is a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast.
Roger Taylor’s life as a cook began with a childhood spent in professional kitchens and working in restaurants from the age of 15. His years in the food industry have honed his ability to create efficiency in the kitchen while still producing spectacular meals. Taylor is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu program at the California Culinary Academy.