Eric Ripert, chef and part owner of New York's Le Bernadin, discovered that as his chef star rose he drifted far, far away from cooking. A Return to Cooking
is his response to this sorry predicament, the result of a self-imposed challenge: to gather together disparate souls--a painter (Valentino Cortazar), a writer (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef
and The Soul of a Chef
), photographers (Shimon and Tammar Rothstein), and a personal assistant (Andrea Glick, who would write and test the spontaneously created recipes)--and simply cook.
The settings (and fresh food ingredients) are spectacular. Sag Harbor in summer. Puerto Rico in winter. California's Napa Valley in spring. Vermont in fall. Rent a house, shop for food, and make the meals happen. For anyone who has ever wanted to understand how a great cook looks at ingredients and settles on a plan, A Return to Cooking is it. In Puerto Rico the reader is treated to Caramelized Pineapple Crepes with Crème Frâiche; Shrimp with Fresh Coconut Milk, Calabaza, and Avocado; and Seared Tuna with Escabeche of Pear Tomatoes.
What Ripert does with food, the Rothsteins do with photos, Cortazar does with paints, and Ruhlman does with words. The stimulating recipes rise out of a young lifetime of experience. This is a big, lush book (330 pages, 150 recipes, nearly 400 color photos and illustrations) dense with information, technique, and flavor. For anyone who has wandered far from the kitchen and the pleasures inherent in cooking, A Return to Cooking will bring you right back home. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
What happens when chef Ripert exchanges the rarefied atmosphere of New York City's Le Bernardin for the sometimes melodramatic company of artistes- photographers Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, Valentino Cortazar, a Colombian painter who doesn't rise until noon and writer Ruhlman (Soul of a Chef) -to experiment in four locales and get back to his roots as a cook? Readers get a peek at the spontaneous inspiration behind such imaginative recipes as Halibut with Grapes and Red Wine-Port Sauce, along with tips for preparation, and colorful paintings and elegant photographs. Ripert cooks in four locales-Sag Harbor, N.Y., Puerto Rico, Napa Valley, and Cavendish, Vt.-though recipes do not always correspond to local produce (a lobster dish in Vermont, eels and frogs legs in Napa, and truffles in Puerto Rico). In Puerto Rico, Ripert's love for everything Latin shines in such recipes as Shrimp with Fresh Coconut Milk, Calabaza. In Napa, emphasizing mushrooms, Ripert makes Portobello and Eggplant Tart and Double-Cut Veal Chops with Morels and Herb Butter, and on Long Island he prepares Snapper with Caramelized and Braised Shallots and Shallot Jus. Ripert offers invaluable insights into sauces-practically everything has a sauce or a pesto. Interspersed throughout are sections on, for example, how to make Lemon Confit and how to humanely kill a lobster. The narrative can become precious: Ripert says "I touch an onion, and something happens inside me." Overall, however, this is a practical and rare look into what happens when a chef comes out of the industrial-sized kitchen and into the fire of his reativity.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.