From Publishers Weekly
Dornenburg and Page (Chef's Night Out; Becoming a Chef) collaborate successfully once more, bringing together the international inspirations that today's chefs draw from. As unusual, often imported ingredients become more readily available, the authors believe that "there is an exciting opportunity for experimentation and exercising creativity. On the other hand, experimentation-particularly in the hands of an inexperienced chef-can be disastrous." Dornenburg and Page address this problem by bringing together 10 fundamental international cuisines in one handy volume. Drawing on the knowledge of the leading exponents of each fare, and liberally sprinkling in quotations, they distill these styles, ingredients and techniques into a philosophy that can guide the chef or the inspired home cook to produce authentic results. Whether focusing on Japanese or Moroccan cuisines, the authors call for advice upon the likes of such notables as Paula Wolfert, Rick Bayless and Daniel Boulud, who provide not only their expertise but also their recipes. Each section is divided into the fundamentals, including a culinary map, flavor palette, ingredients and techniques as well as a suggested reading list from cookbook shop notable Nach Waxman, before finishing with several timeless recipes that provide a basic repertoire. Most recipes require a certain level of knowledge and competence, but some, such as the clean-tasting Gazpacho Andaluz and vibrant Chicken Tangine with Prunes, are within reach of any cook. The finished work is deceptively thorough, but it works better as a guide to the values, tastes and methods that form each cuisine than as a recipe book.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The best books are written with a crystal-clear purpose in mind, and Beard Award-winning writers Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (BECOMING A CHEF, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT) have really honed in on a crucial subject for THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF
Their analysis of the current culinary situation hits the nail on the head. "Whereas a young professional cook may have had the opportunity in years past to develop a solid grounding in classic technique (most frequently French) before branching off into multiethnic experimentation, today the same cook has to work from day one with an extraordinarily wide variety of ingredients and techniques," they write. "The widespread availability of international ingredients has outpaced our ability to assimilate them into our daily cooking. This represents both a major opportunity and a major challenge for the New American chef."
Few full service restaurant operators or, especially, restaurant critics would argue against Dornenburg's and Page's thesis.
This book is designed to fill the ever-widening information gap. And while it seems like an impossibly large topic to cover, this clever duo devised a format that distills the essentials of 10 influential cuisines (Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Moroccan, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese) into digestible lessons for the reader.
Each chapter begins with a lengthy profile of a particular country's cuisine, with key fundamentals spelled out via interviews with respected chefs and cookbook authors. Then come recipes (one hundred in all for the book) that enable the reader to tackle the lessons just learned. Dozens of celebrity chefs dot the roster of contributors.
"We've narrowed down the gist of what you need to know about each cuisine in order to retain its spirit in your cooking," Dornenburg and Page say. "In thirty pages per cuisine, we can make you feel like you have just taken an immersion course in that cuisine and our experts will enable you to better reproduce its food and its spirit in your kitchen."
What a godsend. This book will be of value to just about anyone who works in the back of the house or write a menu cooked there. (Restaurant Hospitality
, December 2003)
"The New American Chef...explores flavors and techniques in the words of the chefs themselves" —Gael Greene (New York, December 22, 2003)