The Book Stall
Not Afraid of Flavor

Not Afraid of Flavor
by Ben Barker and Karen Barker
University of North Carolina Press, 2000. 

Located in Durham, North Carolina, the Magnolia Grill is a chef-owned, kitchen-driven restaurant known for its distinctively Southern cuisine drawn from local ingredients supplied by a network of area growers and the Carrboro Farmers' Market.

"We cannot overemphasize the importance of using the finest ingredients available to you," write Ben and Karen Barker. "If you have a local farmers' market, use it to your advantage. Go early for the best selection. Make an initial alk-through to see what catches your eye, and then let the ingredients create your menu, in the most spontaneous sense."

The 125 recipes in this cookbook, many of them inspired by ingredient found at the farmers' market, have become favorites at the 14-year-old Magnolia Grill. The owner-chefs present signature dishes like Cool as a Cucumber Soup with Buttermilk, Carolina Grits Souffle and Striped Bass with Oyster Stew along with their own take on Southern classics like Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Squash Casserole and Blueberry-Peach Pie.

Avoiding a common problem with recipes drawn from professional environments, the chefs elected to format the selections in this book to home kitchen proportions. "We felt that to do anything less would disappoint customers who have eaten our food and are interested in replicating it for themselves," they explain.

Ben Barker is one of the top chefs in the Southeast, voted Best Chef in the region by the James Beard Foundation in 2000, and Karen Barker is a award-winning pastry chef. Their personal styles and accomplishments are well represented in this handsomely illustrated cookbook.

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Recipes from 
Magnolia Grill


  • Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Bacon Crostata
  • Barbecued Smoked Salmon with Piccalilli and Buttermilk Herb Crackers
  • Spicy Green Tomato Soup with Crab & Country Ham 
  • Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Grits Cake, Country Ham, and Redeye Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Beef Tenderloin in a Cabernet Sauce with Roquefort and Summer Vegetable Chopped Salad
  • Striped Bass with Oyster Stew
  • Slow-Cooked Southern Greens
  • Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
  • Tomato Concasse
Also by Ben Barker:
Taste of the Triangle 

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