Watchung Booksellers will host a celebration for the second edition of The Samba Montclair Gluten-Free Cookbook, written by chef Ilson Gonçalves. In this new edition, Gonçalves has updated the authentic home-style recipes of his childhood.
In 2020, while the world was shut down due to the pandemic, Gonçalves experienced his own health crisis and was diagnosed with celiac disease and food allergies. He had to make drastic changes to his diet, omitting all wheat, soy, and corn among other gluten and gluten-adjacent foods. Since his rule is that he doesn’t serve anything in his restaurant that he won’t eat himself, he immediately set about making Samba Montclair a totally gluten-free establishment. Gonçalves’ going 100% gluten-free is the reason for updating this book, since now all the recipes have eliminated gluten while remaining authentic, easy to prepare, and delicious! Gonçalves has added a few new favorites as well.
Gonçalves grew up in southern Brazil where it was common for him to pick wild fruits for snacking and spend the day surrounded by natural beauty. Gonçalves learned to cook by watching his mother and helping out in her popular neighborhood restaurant. When he came to the United States at age 23, he began working at a top-rated New Jersey restaurant, ascending from bussing to waiting tables to managing. Gonçalves opened Samba Montclair in Montclair, in December 2010 as a deli with a few Brazilian specials. Today, Samba is a validated Gluten Free safe spot via the Gluten-Free Food Service Program, featuring a menu that’s a reflection of the authentic cooking he grew up eating and loves to share with others.
The event is free, but registered guests will receive priority seating. Any remaining seats will be available to walk-in guests at 6:50 p.m.