Chef, author to get library cooking

Published 11:57 pm Friday, February 4, 2011

The Selma-Dallas County Library will cook up something Feb. 17 beginning at noon with its next “Lunch at the Library” with chef and author, Mark Leslie.

Leslie, a Chicago native who has lived in Alabama for more than 23 years, said he’s a self-proclaimed “foodie.” His book “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language and Life with an Italian Family,” chronicles his travels to Italy: learning the language and immersing himself into Italian culture and cooking.

In its 16th year, the event has showcased authors, chefs and political figures alike with a connection to the southern region.

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“We’ve had author Kathryn Windham, syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, the late attorney J.L. Chesnutt and Birmingham chef Frank Stitt in times past,” said Becky Nichols, director of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. “We heard about Leslie through his publisher and his public library appearances. His book is very popular.”

Nichols said the lunch, which attracts between 50 to 75 people, is a success because it sparks the public’s interests.

“Sometimes we’ve had 100 people to come out,” Nichols said. “We try to bring in southern authors or southern books that are of regional interests.”

The cost of the lunch is $8 and will begin noon until 12:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 12:30 until 1 p.m.

Nichols said the public can purchase Leslie’s book and get it autographed before and after lunch.

“The book will be $30,” Nichols said. “We’re really hoping he can do a little cooking for us too.”

For lunch reservations and more information call 874-1725.