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Top Secret Restaurant Recipes: Creating Kitchen Clones from America's Favorite Restaurant Chains [Paperback]

Todd Wilbur
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3: The Secret Formulas for Duplicating Your Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3: The Secret Formulas for Duplicating Your Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home 4.5 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

June 9 1997
In 1996, Americans spent over $100 billion gobbling up meals at full-service American restaurant chains, inspiring Todd Wilbur to change his focus from cracking the recipes for convenience store foods to cloning the popular dishes served at these sit-down stand-bys. Wilbur's knock-offs, absolutely indiscernible from the originals, are selected from national and regional chains, many drawn from a list of the top ten full-service restaurant chains, including Houlihan's, Red Lobster, and Pizza Hut. Also included in this savory cookbook is a special section devoted to dishes from hot theme restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and Dive! Recipes include: Applebee's Quesadillas; Denny's Moons Over My Hammy; Bennigan's Cookie Mountain Sundae; The Olive Garden Toscana Soup; The Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta; T.G.I.Friday's Nine-Layer Dip; Pizza Hut Original Stuffed Crust Pizza; Chi-Chi's Nachos Grande, and many more! 

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Product Description

From Amazon

Long before scientists in Scotland cloned Dolly the sheep, Todd Wilbur was hard at work replicating recipes from some of America's favorite restaurant chains. Armed with Ziploc bags for transporting leftovers and plenty of questions for his servers, Wilbur has combined the skills of a private eye and a research scientist to devise the tasty clones included in Top Secret Restaurant Recipes. Wilbur honed his technique on convenience food, creating exact duplicates of everything from a Big Mac to a Twinkie; in this book, however, he sets his sights on slightly more sophisticated fare. Within these pages you'll find sure-fire recipes for such chain favorites as Hard Rock Cafe's Famous Baby Rock Watermelon Ribs, Cheese Blintzes from the International House of Pancakes, and The Olive Garden's Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip. Denny's, Shoney's, The Cheesecake Factory, and Pizza Hut are just a few of the many chain restaurants from which popular menu items have been "cloned." So the next time you have a hankering for Tony Roma's World Famous Ribs or a slice of Red Robin's Mountain High Mud Pie, don't bother to go out--instead, eat in with Top Secret Restaurant Recipes.

From Booklist

As restaurant chains proliferate, their food expresses a culinary Gresham's law: bad food drives out good. Wilbur, building on the popularity of his books revealing McDonald's Big Mac special sauce and Twinkies' filling, continues to plumb the shallows of chain-restaurant cooking. Here he tells the home cook how to make favorite dishes from such popular chains as Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, and dozens more. What Wilbur cleverly uncovers are legal constructs more than culinary creations (witness the blizzard of trademark bullets appearing next to virtually every name). Wilbur's blueprint diagrams of food add to a perception of these comestibles as food engineering. Nevertheless, this book will be eagerly sought by library patrons delving for just the sort of chain-restaurant secrets Wilbur unveils. Mark Knoblauch

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Bill and T.J. Palmer opened their first restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1980, they realized their dream of building a full-service, reasonably-priced restaurant in a neighborhood setting. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great cookbook to add to your collection Feb. 20 2004
This is a fun cookbook. I have tried to copy things I have eaten from restuarants and never was able to copy it right. I love the the IHOP cheese blintz and couldnt for the life of me figure out what was in the middle. Now with this book I am able to make it myself. That recipe alone for me made the book worthwhile. I am going to try the bloomin onion next. It even tells you how to cut the onion. This is just a fun cookbook to have whether you are a professional chef or a dont know how to even boil water. The one negative about the book is the paper its printed on. It would never survive a spill. I tend to have more spills or splatters on my cookbooks because they are right in front of me as I am using them. This one I will have to be more careful with because it wont be able to take it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for dieters... March 18 2004
By A Customer
This book is similar to all the other ones out there. Not really anything that sets it apart from the rest. if you're on a diet, I would definitely steer clear of this book. Many of the recipes seem to be high in fat and calories.
The recipes are easy to follow but I would have to say that the best one in the whole book is the recipe for the Olive Garden's Italian dressing. Delicious!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great clones Nov. 7 2002
This book contains over 100 recipes, easy-to-make clones of many restaurants' famous specialties. These include Outback's Bloomin' Onion (reading the recipe made me sure I would rather have the restaurant make it!); Benihana's Hibachi Chicken and Steak with their dipping sauces included and delicious Japanese Fried Rice; Cracker Barrel's Eggs in a Basket; and Toscana Soup from the Olive Garden--yummy.
I especially loved the diagrams the author included...for example, the exact size of the slice of bread for IHOP French Toast; a sample, to scale, of the size of a chunk in mashed potatoes; and the layout of the layers that go into the hard Rock Cafe's Grilled Veggie Sandwich, which is easy and good.
"Tidbits", included at the ends of some recipes, contain valuable information, such as how to make a "lite" version of the recipe; specifics as to special ingredients needed; shortcuts; and substitutes for ingredients.
This is a fun cookbook that would make a great gift for people who like brand name restaurants.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to make and tastes like the real thing Feb. 6 2002
Todd Wilbur is the undesputed king of recipe clone cooks. Yes, you can find all sorts of "clone" or "copy" recipe web sites on the web but most of them really don't taste anything like the brand-name food they are supposed to be copying. Todd's creations are different in that they almost always are indistinguishable from the real thing and this book continues that fine tradition. This book is a godsend for those of us who live in parts of the country where some chain restaurants don't have a presence (I loved Chi-Chi's all during my youth until I left Wisconsin in 1992 and moved to California where Chi-Chi's doesn't exist). Todd's recipes are always trivial to create requiring few ingredients and few steps. Although there are no photographs, there are some nice illustrations in "blueprint" form that show you what the finished product will look like. Check out the table of contents to make sure there's something that catches you eye.
In my opinion, this book is much more important than his other books which feature recipes for foods that you can get anywhere. I emailed Todd's website and they told me that a sequel "restaurant recipes" book is in the works. I will DEFINITELY buy that one too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic book! Jan. 11 2000
I found that the book was a great investment for people who might not have the funds or the patience to be at the restaurants all the time to have great food. Everything that I've made has been excellent, and though I'm sure that the author tried to find the closest ingredients that could be found with ease at your local market (and in comments to the people who gave a bad review that he couldn't find the ingredients out of the country, we're lucky someone has found a way for us to make the recipes at ALL! How's he supposed to know you can't get Mayo where you are and what substitution you could use in its place? ) Also to the person who made the comment about it not being "gourmet fare" the recipes that are in the book aren't supposed to all be gourmet fare, they're supposed to be recipes most people LOVE & it wasn't like you couldn't look over the book and judge if it was for you before you bought it! I LOVE this book, and it looks like everyone else does too! Great Job Todd! THANKS!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A blueprint for good food June 28 1998
By A Customer
My family has been trying to figure out how to make Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole for at least 5 years. We have failed miserably. But Todd Wilbur has finally revealed the secret -- beef broth -- along with a lot of other really delicious secret recipes. I've had the book a week and have already made the hashbrown casserole, the old "toad in a hole" eggs, the IHOP French toast and the avocado egg rolls and every one of them has been delicious. Of course, I've probably put on 5 pounds this week, but it was worth it. Wilbur's recipes are not only easy to follow, using ordinary food in most cases, but he includes hilarious blueprints of each dish. I particularly like the cross-section of Planet Hollywood's Chicken Crunch which also includes a diagram of a piece of Cap'n Crunch, and his very thoughtful inclusion of diagrams of a 10 inch skillet and three eggs in the Perkins Granny's Country Omelette. The diagrams make the cooking fun and the quality of the product makes the eating even more fun. I'm buying another copy of this book for my mother, and, when they try the food, I suspect all my friends will buy copies. Aside from my 1970s edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, this is the best cookbook I've ever found. The question is, does Todd take requests? If so, I have a few recipes I'd like for him to clone, especially the house salad dressing at the Echota House here in Tahlequah. This is a great book--buy it.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great cook book
Ok but do not like the layout of book as well as most cook books. I have seen better recipes online for free!
Published 4 months ago by Ron Kendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Très intéressant :-)
Ceci est un de mes préférée dans la collection de Top Secret Recipes de Todd Wilbur. J'ai fait quelques-unes des recettes du livre... un succès. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2008 by Markyoloup
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing down the restaurant, one recipe at a time...
I thumbed through this book and asked my sister-in-law if I could copy down a recipe. I soon realized I was going to need to purchase one for myself. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2004 by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Great clones
The recipes I've tried from this book have been great. One you can not miss out on is the recipe for Hooters wings--it's fabulous!
Published on July 26 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Got them on the Dot!
I've recently tried a lot of recipes off websites that claim they have the recipes. They didn't turn out that well. Read more
Published on March 23 2003 by Kim Hawthorn
1.0 out of 5 stars Not all that.
I have some of Gloria Pitzer books so maybe that is why I didn't like this book.Mr Wilbur thinks the secret to KFC is MFG, no way. Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Not all that.
I have some of Gloria Pitzer books so maybe that is why I didn't like this book.Mr Wilbur thinks the secret to KFC is MFG, no way. Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Yum Yum Yum
I was SO excited to see the recipe for Cracker Barrel's Hash Brown Casserole (it's a HIT with all my friends and family). Read more
Published on May 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes!
The recipes are true to the original versions. I tried making the "Popeye's" fried chicken, and it came out great!
I can't wait to try out more of the fun recipes.
Published on March 20 2002
Although I have travelled a great deal over the years, in my little corner of the world we are not blessed with such restaurants as the Hard Rock Cafe, the Olive Garden, etc. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2002 by Sandra D. Peters
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