The Book Catapult is excited to host Chef Keith Corbin on Wednesday, August 24 at 7pm to discuss and sign his new book, California Soul: An American Epic of Cooking and Survival.
Chef Keith Corbin has been cooking his entire life. Born on the home turf of the notorious Grape Street Crips in 1980s Watts, Los Angeles, he got his start cooking crack at age thirteen, becoming so skilled that he was flown across the country to cook for drug operations in other cities. After his criminal enterprises caught up with him, though, Corbin spent years in California’s most notorious maximum security prisons—witnessing the resourcefulness of other inmates who made kimchi out of leftover vegetables and tamales from ground-up Fritos. He developed his own culinary palate and ingenuity, creating “spreads” out of the unbearable commissary ingredients and experimenting during his shifts in the prison kitchen. After his release, Corbin got a job managing the kitchen at LocoL, an ambitious fast food restaurant spearheaded by celebrity chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, designed to bring inexpensive, quality food and good jobs into underserved neighborhoods. But when Corbin was suddenly thrust into the spotlight, he struggled to live up to or accept the simplified “gangbanger redemption” portrayal of him in the media. As he battles private demons while achieving public success, Corbin traces the origins of his vision for “California soul food” and takes readers inside the worlds of gang hierarchy, drug dealing, prison politics, gentrification, and culinary achievement to tell the story of how he became head chef of Alta Adams, one of America’s best restaurants.
"Keith Corbin's California Soul is a real-life story that - unless you come from the bricks - you never really hear. This is not just one man's story. It's a family story, a neighborhood story, an American story. And only through food can it be digested completely. Time to eat."
- Roy Choi, NYT bestselling author, James Beard award winning host of 'Broken Bread' and Netflix's 'The Chef Show', and chef/co-founder of Kogi BBQ, Best Friend, and LocoL
Keith Corbin is chef and co-owner of Alta Adams in Los Angeles which has been named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Esquire, Thrillist, and the LA Times. A native of Watts, Corbin was formerly director of operations for Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson’s Locol restaurant group, and worked for Patterson at his Michelin starred fine dining restaurant Coi in San Francisco.