Unbound Edition Press today announced it will publish Chef Walker Brown’s debut collection of food essays, Fancyboy.
Brown, known for his illustrious career as a chef in some of Atlanta’s finest restaurants, has long focused his attention on food from the American South. The essays comprising Fancyboy delve deeply into food, memory, identity, and culture. The ways in which discovering, making, and sharing food inform self-image, race, gender, and queer sensibilities punctuate Brown’s intimate recollections.
“Growing up in a small southern town in the 1970s and 80s, I always wanted to make things a bit grander, like what I saw in beautiful books or stylish movies. I wanted to make them fancy,” Brown said. “I got called a sissy, but simply didn’t know until later in life that everything I did with food and a table was actually a small, innocent act of coming out. I felt shame then, but I still forage for flowers now and am known for my soirées. Today, I am really proud to be a fancyboy.”
The collection explores broader societal truths, too. “Everything in the South happens around food, both good and bad,” Brown said. From the plight of farm laborers to the present-day kitchen staffing in restaurants, who must harvest and cook compared to who gets to dine and celebrate reveals much about the values Americans bring to their food.
“From Marcel Proust to M.F.K. Fisher, some of the finest writing ever has been inspired by one human’s relationship to their food and the experiences and memories it holds,” said Patrick Davis, publisher at Unbound Edition Press. “It takes a certain kind of boy to find wonder in casseroles or a glass of bubbles, and I am so thankful Walker Brown was that kind of boy. Now, he has those memories and insights to share widely with readers, and we are so honored to publish them.”
Fancyboy has a publication date of October 2022.
Chef Walker Brown has spent more than 25 years in Atlanta’s top kitchens. He is a co-founder of thefoodsociety.community, a digital project that forms community based on shared passions for food and learning. As a consummate host, Walker is at his happiest when welcoming small-group dinner parties around his table, where friendship, food, and a touch of fancy nourishes.