I bought this book because Michael Ruhlman, in The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Craft for Every Kitchen
, recommends it, as have other reviewers, as a must-have chef's bible. Personally, after having purchased the book, I was unimpressed. The book is indeed a hefty tome at 1230 pages and 8 pounds but, unfortunately, all that weight doesn't translate into a lot of substance. Part two of the book is a 110 section entitled 'World cuisines' that purports to discuss the essential characteristics of different national and regional cuisines. In reality, though, this is a topic that can, and does, fill thousands of books and in trying to cover it in 100 odd pages is to inevitably doom the coverage to nothing more than a few brief generalizations. Likewise, in a book that is so clearly founded in classical French cookery, one would have thought that sauces would be extensively covered in some depth. As it is, however, they are accorded the same sort of superficial treatment as was given to world cuisines and, in the end analysis, I would have to say that the old standby, Joy of Cooking
, does just as good if not better job for a cheaper price. Sadly, aside from the fact that 'The Professional Chef' is nicely illustrated, this comparison largely holds true for much of the book. When all is said and done, I would have to acknowledge that this is a pretty decent comprehensive book for the novice home cook but to tout it as a bible for professional chefs is to over-hype the product.