A cookbook organized by a Capitol Hill community center is publishing restaurant-proven recipes from big-name D.C. chefs such as Maketto’s Erik-Bruner Yang, Centrolina’s Amy Brandwein, and Aaron Silverman of Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury. Inside A Taste of Hill Center, readers will find directions for how to make Silverman’s spaghetti with strawberry-tomato sauce, Brandwein’s fried green tomatoes with buttermilk burrata, and Bruner-Yang’s Cambodian soup.
Food writer and Hill Center board member Bonny Wolf edited the book, which comes out Thursday, October 21. That night, Bruner-Yang will talk with Wolf and give a live cooking demonstration during a ticketed event. The cookbook is for sale at the Hill Center, online, and at East City Bookshop for $45.
The book contains more than 140 recipes from Hill Center staff, neighbors, and friends. Sales will help the Hill Center keep going after more than 10 years. When the Covid-19 pandemic halted the venue’s regular events, it launched a cookbook project to maintain a community spirit.
“Food is as much about connection as cuisine,” Wolf says. “We are a center of community, and we have been disconnected. So it seemed an appropriate way to raise needed funds and get the community back in touch.”
The cookbook also lists a method for making collard greens from Kyle Johnson, a cook at Capitol Hill institution Jimmy T’s Place. Gérard Pangaud, who used to run Bernard Grenier and Gerard’s Place, shares a lobster dish, and there are recipes from Eastern Market purveyors, too.
“It’s such a cross section,” Wolf says. “We have everything from artichoke dip to Gerard Pangaud’s lobster poached in Sauternes.”
The Hill Center typically hosts educational programs for kids and adults, including cooking classes taught by some of the aforementioned chefs. Built in 1864 to serve as a Naval hospital during the Civil War, the imposing building was repurposed as a place for art shows, fairs, workshops, and lectures. Visitors also have easy access to Silverman’s Little Pearl in the refurbished carriage house next door.
Wolf notes that 1864, the year Abraham Lincoln commissioned the Naval hospital, also marks the publication year of the nation’s first-ever community cookbook. That would be A Poetical Cookbook by Maria J. Moss, which raised money to cover medical costs for injured soldiers in the Union army.