Before opening The National, chef Peter Dale was inspired by this cookbook. 

By F&W Editors
Updated May 23, 2017

Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their top picks of all-time.

The Chef: Peter Dale, The National in Athens, GA

The Book: Moro: The Cookbook by Samuel Clark and Samantha Clark (2001)

“I had just started cooking at 5&10 when my parents and I went to Scotland,” Dale says. “One of the Two Fat Ladies owned this cookbook shop in Edinburgh and I dragged my parents there. She wasn’t there, but I got to talking to another woman working that day. I told her I was starting to cook, and was continuing on to London. She told me to eat at Moro and buy the book. I did both. They helped me put a lot of pieces together. I’d been to Spain, and had Greek heritage, and loved the Middle East and North Africa, but I’d never thought about putting it all together. I came home from that trip and realized the foods in the book, like okra, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, all grow well in north Georgia. I could do something seasonal and regional with a Middle Eastern accent. Which is what I do at The National.”