With indoor dining currently off the table throughout nearly all of California and healthy eating back on the front burner for many as we begin the new year, a new cookbook from the two top chefs at UCLA’s Plateia restaurant aims to empower people in the kitchen and challenge public perception regarding where great cuisine can be found.

“Cooking together can be especially comforting in these times,” said Jason Tingley, Plateia’s executive chef who, along with the restaurant’s chef de cuisine Jeromy Sung, has curated more than 70 Mediterranean-inspired, California-fresh recipes from the restaurant’s ever-changing menu to create “Plateia: The Cookbook.”

“The process of preparing meals can be calming and be a sincere act of love for those around us,” Tingley said.

The cookbook is available now online via the UCLA Store and at Plateia, which is open for take-out and outdoor dining in its olive tree courtyard.

Located in the UCLA Renee & Meyer Luskin Conference Center, Plateia, a name inspired by the Greek word for town square, is committed to locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.

“We are a world-class restaurant that is located in an unexpected place — a public university campus,” said Tingley, who has previously worked at a variety of upscale establishments, including L’Orangerie, Patina and the Water Grill, to name a few. “People are pleasantly surprised at the caliber of cuisine offered, as it’s not what one thinks of when they think of food that they’d find at a university.”

The cookbook’s creators hope it will become a heavily referenced resource for those who love to cook Mediterranean cuisine and are adventurous in the kitchen, as well as a source of inspiration and encouragement for those who want to elevate the meals they’re creating.

In addition to dozens of breakfast, small plate, soup, salad, pizza, entrée, dessert and drink recipes, stories about some of the people and processes that make this restaurant special are also detailed in this 240-page hardcover collection.

Among them are Plateia’s very own certified sommelier Robert Calash, who offers a series of wine pairing suggestions for several of the entrées, as well as the chefs, the management team, and some of the individuals who supply the restaurant with fresh produce, poultry, seafood and herbs.

“Through this book, we believe readers will gain a deeper understanding of the story of how Plateia has come to be an integral part of the fabric of UCLA — redefining the idea of accessible world-class cuisine — opening up a whole host of new conversations around food, and creating an overall heightened sense of excitement for the work we do here,” said Al Ferrone, senior director of food and beverage for UCLA Housing & Hospitality, which includes the Luskin Conference Center, Lake Arrowhead Lodge, UCLA Conferences & Catering and residential student dining.

“Plateia: The Cookbook” received the 2020 Global Innovation Award from the International Association of Conference Centers, of which the Luskin Conference Center is a member, for its creativity, innovation and impact. This is the second UCLA cookbook published in recent years; the first, “The Bruin Plate Cookbook,” was released in 2018.