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If there were an award for excellent chefs in Canada with overblown titles, like those in France, Jamie Kennedy would be Master of Morels, Prince of Mushrooms, Companion of the Golden Chanterelles. The recipes in his second cookbook, Jamie Kennedy's Seasons, aren't only about tony fungi, but they demonstrate his boundless respect for what earth, air, and water bring forth. Kennedy stumps tirelessly for organic ingredients, and his restaurants are historical markers in the development of our national cuisine. He's not addressing beginners here, but does detail basic stocks, doughs, batters, pastries, and marinades built into subsequent preparations. The recipes, mainly from JK ROM, his top-end room in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, are spare, though a glossary helps define technical terms. Presentation notes are frequent and welcome. Kennedy divides his dishes among the year's quarters, and within a given season arranges them by their place in a meal. This is mainly big-city fare: his delight at working with exotica imported by Toronto's ethnic markets is infectious.
Many of Kennedy's big-flavoured, no-shortcut dishes cost: money to source fresh (local lamb, for instance, for autumn's Lamb Rack with Fava Bean Risotto; or time and motion, as in the same season's Chestnut Ice Cream with Warm Chocolate Sauce. (Kennedy affords a truc de cuisine: before roasting chestnuts, soak them in salt water to ease the shells' removal.) "The amount of effort exerted is directly proportional to the excellence of the result." Still, Kennedy is not above using out-of-season produce (cannily preserved). A splendid example is Summer Fruits in Rum--berries layered in sugar and booze in a crock--summer's glory relived in the coldest months.
A final note: This book possesses a stitched binding and easily lies flat. The margins are wide, the type handsome, the colour photographs of dishes and thumbnail snapshots of the author and his colleagues and family utterly beguiling. --Ted Whittaker
Jamie Kennedy is one of Canada's most outstanding chefs. He is the owner and Executive Chef at the ROM in Toronto. In high school he created a culinary club and discovered the significance of food and wine.
Cooking became Jamie's vocation when he apprenticed at the Windsor Arms Hotel after finishing the Advanced Cook course at George Brown College in Toronto at age 17. He went on to become a cook in Switzerland before returning to Canada to partner with Michael Stadtlander in Scaramouche, a Toronto restaurant modeled on the French three-star system that was heralded as a new phase in Canadian culinary history. This year, he was named Chef of the Year by the Ontario Hostelry Institute.
Born in Toronto, he lived in New Haven, Connecticut as a teenager before returning to Ontario, where he has lived ever since. When hes not at the restaurant, Jamie enjoys travelling and reading about, collecting and drinking wine. Despite his busy schedule, family is important to Jamie, and he strives to spend as much time as possible with his four children.