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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at 10 different cuisines
I have been trying to buy a copy of this book on Amazon ever since hearing the authors speak at the Cascadia Culinary Arts conference here in Washington on May 22 (they were incredible) but it's been "out of stock" for weeks. VERY frustrating. I wish that I had bought a copy at the conference, but I didn't want to carry it around at the time. If I knew how hard it...
Published on June 7 2004 by Chef Tim

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete and Inconsistent
I'll let others provide the raves. Just like every 'how-to' book ever written, this book was written in segments. And, unlike most of those other how-to books, it shows. It all starts during the story boarding process of writing a book (outlining what you will write about). The heading structure is decided upon for the topics, and a well-thought-out book of this nature...
Published on Nov. 7 2003


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete and Inconsistent, Nov. 7 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
I'll let others provide the raves. Just like every 'how-to' book ever written, this book was written in segments. And, unlike most of those other how-to books, it shows. It all starts during the story boarding process of writing a book (outlining what you will write about). The heading structure is decided upon for the topics, and a well-thought-out book of this nature should have identical topics for every chapter. It is in this planning stage where inconsistencies are discovered and corrected and the writers and editor work together to fix them. This wasn't done well for this book. For example, for some reason Andrew has his own section in the preface where he writes in the first person about his experiences, Karen does not have her own section. The other two sections in the preface are written as the collective, "we."
Notably missing from this book are the cuisines of: Greece, Middle East, Germany, and the Caribbean.
As a book is being written, new and unforeseen topics appear. The writers and editor decide whether this unforeseen topic is out of scope for the book, or, if it is not, the topic is to be included for all chapters. Considerations in the yes/no decision include schedule, resources, and funding. If these three components cannot be properly executed for the entire book, the topic should be abandoned. For this book, each cuisine is on its own as if it had its own budget; good information that is included in one, is excluded in the rest. This is just poor design and layout. Here are some inconsistencies:
Japanese cooking
Page 47 has a table showing the menu for a formal Japanese dinner. It lists 12 courses and the order in which they should be served. This is not included for the Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Moroccan, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. Something of this nature is invaluable to all cuisines for anyone wishing to put together an ethnic dinner. For example, readers will have to look elsewhere to find that a traditional sequence for a formal French dinner is: Cold app or soup, Soup, Hot app (always fish/shellfish), Intermezzo (sorbet), Main course, Salad, Cheese, Dessert (entremets).
Page 50 shows the seasons for obtaining Japanese ingredients when they are at their peak. It greatly expands upon their entry for Japanese cuisine in the book, Culinary Artistry (by the same authors). This is great information. Again, this is not available for the other cuisines.
I know that their contacts are different for each cuisine. However, if one contact has useful information about a specific cuisine (menu list or seasonal ingredient) and that is to be included, a light bulb should appear over the heads of the writers and editor and they should make this valuable topic available for all the cuisines by going back to their contacts and doing the necessary research.
Italian cooking
All the other cuisines have regions section titled, "The Culinary Map of <insert country>". Italy does not and this is one country that definitely has regional cuisine.
French cooking
Page 166 shows the regional sections of France reduced to a table. None of the other cuisines have a table. Ideally, as one who prefers to find necessary information quickly and easily, all sections should have a discussion of the regions followed by a table.
There is no information regarding cheese.
Chinese cooking
Page 222 has a great table on pairing teas with food. This is excellent information. But, this is yet another book by Andrew and Karen where they shy away from pairing wine with food. In the French section, there are only four non-informative paragraphs under a heading, How Wine Builds Character. Daniel Boulud is quoted as saying, "French dishes are designed to be paired with wine." Yet, there is no information explaining how. You'll need to look elsewhere.
It's not that difficult and wine/food matching can be summarized in a few pages. For example, an introduction to a home cook wanting to match food and wine can be to break both down into the basics of contrast and complements, and go from there.
Acid's contrast is salt; its complement is sweet
Bitter's contrast is sweet; its complement is also sweet
Sweet's contrast is bitter' its complement is salt
Salt's contrast is acid; its complement is sweet
Tannin's contrast is fat; its complement is sweet
After knowing this, a few examples can show a cook how to decide to contrast or complement a food to wine. An example to contrast is learning that the richness in game, such as duck, is diminished with fruit (Duck à l'Orange). Earthy wines are also contrasted with fruit if only because the earthy wine doesn't contain the fruit it should. Add fruit to the dish to enhance the fruit flavor that is supposed to be in the wine. Tips like this are simple and easy to follow and don't require 100s of pages found in books devoted to the topic. There's no reason not to include them in this series.
They can also list the flavor profiles of a particular grape, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which is known to possess: blackberry, black raspberry, black currant (cassis), bell pepper, eucalyptus, mint, black olive, green olive, earth, mushroom, chocolate, cocoa, molasses, smoke, plum, cedar, tobacco, licorice, graphite (pencil box)...
Mexican cooking
Page 281 has a small table explaining characteristics of seven fresh chilies. Page 282 has a small table explaining characteristics of seven dried chilies. What's missing is a link to the two explaining that dried_chile_x comes from fresh_chile_y. For example, how many readers won't know that a chipotle pepper is a dried, smoked jalapeno? Or that a poblano chile is renamed ancho when it is dried? This is useful information.
These inconsistencies can be fixed when the planning stage is correctly executed. There seems to be such a rush to get these books out for this franchise, that I'm always left looking elsewhere to get the complete picture.
Other books you will need to look at to reference this missing parts include: The Restaurant Lover's Companion by Steve Ettlinger with Melanie Falick and Ethnic Cuisine by Elizabeth Rozin. Both of these books are consistent from one cuisine to the next and have a feeling of completeness with them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at 10 different cuisines, June 7 2004
By 
Chef Tim (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
I have been trying to buy a copy of this book on Amazon ever since hearing the authors speak at the Cascadia Culinary Arts conference here in Washington on May 22 (they were incredible) but it's been "out of stock" for weeks. VERY frustrating. I wish that I had bought a copy at the conference, but I didn't want to carry it around at the time. If I knew how hard it would be to find a copy, I would have! I spent two hours reading a friend's copy of "The New American Chef" and found it fascinating. The authors joked that it's the "Cliff Notes" of 10 different cuisines, but it's so much more. I love the idea of their "culinary compass" that they wrote about in the beginning of the book that maps out the way chefs cook today, and whether their focus is on experimentation or authenticity. It was obvious from their talk and from what I saw of this book that they think about food differently from other writers. I want my own copy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, if you can find it!, June 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
As a fan of the Dornenburg and Page duo, I love their new book The New American Chef. I am also happy they expanded beyond restaurant chefs to include some of my favorite culinary writers in their roundtable of experts (Paula Wolfert, Corinne Trang and Julie Sahni are three of my favorites).
With summer here I am looking forward to making Jose Andres's "Gaspacho Andaluz" and Daniel Bouloud's "Cherry Gratin".
I only have one problem with this book. I am dying to order copies to take as house gifts this summer but it's been listed as "out of stock" on Amazon for the last three weeks.
A great book for year-round cooking or summer hammock reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Take a trip around the world through 10 different cuisines., March 25 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF has a simple premise: Interview some of America's pre-eminent experts on 10 different cuisines (Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Moroccan), and share their knowledge and insights with readers through honing them down into 35 fascinating pages per cuisine. The result? Readers are able to take an educational and delicious tour around the world through the histories, cultures and cuisines of 10 nations. This is a great book to read, and an even better book from which to cook, as it features dozens of recipes perfected by some of the country's best chefs and cookbook authors including Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Penelope Casas, Susan Feniger, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Zarela Martinez, Mary Sue Milliken, Julie Sahni, Piero Selvaggio, Nina Simonds, Masa Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Paula Wolfert, Su-Mei Yu, and many more. This single volume can take the place of 10 tomes on your cookbook shelf. However, if you're looking for even more great reading about each of these cuisines, Nach Waxman (legendary owner of New York's infamous Kitchen Arts & Letters bookshop) provides his recommendations for further exploration at the end of each chapter. THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF is the perfect gift for the food lovers in your life (even yourself!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of the year, Feb. 13 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
I had already thought that THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF was one of the best books I read all year. I subscribe to the authors' enewsletter, and just read that this book was mentioned as one of the best books of 2003 in a number of publications, including by Gael Greene of NEW YORK, Kathie Jenkins of THE ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, Carolyn Jung of THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, Marilyn Marter of THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, William Rice of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Bart Ripp of THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, Cheri Secard of FABULOUSFOODS.COM, MURIEL STEVENS of THE LAS VEGAS SUN, and Marion Sullivan of THE CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER. Great minds think alike!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book., Feb. 13 2004
By 
Tom (a small kitchen in the big city!) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
This book rocks!! I like to get my information at a glance. That's why I really like certain aspects of this book, especially all the charts on how to stock your kitchen cupboards and spice cabinet in order to cook each cuisine. I've also just started dabbling in cheese, so the cheese recommendations in the Spanish chapter are really helpful. I also like the wine recommendations to go with Indian food, because I find beer kind of boring. This is a great book, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to experiment with new cuisines in the kitchen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant concept, brilliantly executed., Feb. 8 2004
By 
Matthus (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
"The New American Chef" is a brilliant concept, brilliantly executed by award-winning authors Dornenburg and Page: Take some of the brightest minds in the culinary world today and have them provide a shorthand approach to the cuisines in which they are expert. The result is a Who's Who of Cooking sharing fascinating insights into the flavors, techniques and "gestalt" of 10 different cuisines: Rick Bayless and Zarela Martinez on Mexican cuisine, Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Mario Batali on Italian cuisine, Paula Wolfert and Rafih Benjelloun on Moroccan cuisine, and dozens of other experts on seven other cuisines (Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese). The authors' approach to singling out and articulating the essence of each cuisine is also a breakthrough contribution to understanding both the differences and the similarities among various cuisines. I'd never previously thought about the similarities between, for example, Japanese and Spanish cuisines, or French and Chinese cuisines - an insight that has the power to change one's approach to cooking. With my copies of the International Time-Life series gathering dust on my bookshelf, I'm delighted to have this captivating new single-volume reference to turn to for insight, inspiration, and incisive modern recipes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This years best gift. Even I can entertain with style, Dec 23 2003
By 
laura day (new york, new york United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
I have always been stressed about how to create a meal for guests. The New American Chef has changed my life. Beautiful and varied recipes with simple suggestions on presentation has made me a confident chef (dare I call myself by this name) and entertaining a joy. I gave this book to everyone for the holidays from kids going off to their first apartments, newlyweds, my parents, clients and my eleven year old son (who then asked for a kitchen tool as a holiday gift). We love to try the recipes and the book is written in a way that makes you realize why the cooking channel is true entertainment. It reads like an ambrosia of short stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, Dec 14 2003
By 
Lynn Harnett (Marathon, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
A global primer, organized by country, this book features some of the country's most renowned chefs discoursing on technique and ingredients and offering some of their signature recipes, like Daniel Boulud's Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine, and Barbara Tropp's Steamed whole Fish with Seared Scallions, and Julie Sahni's Shrimp Madras-Style.
The 10 countries featured are Japan, Italy, Spain, France, China, India, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and Morocco. Each chapter begins with the basics: principles of the cuisine, major ingredients and pantry staples, tools and cooking techniques. Numerous voices contribute opinions and recipes throughout (recipes are headed with chef's name), and occasionally there is even a bit of conflict. Mario Batali, for instance, uses only imported Italian tomatoes while Lynne Rossetto Kasper finds the imports "disappointing."
There are 100 recipes, but the real savor here is the opinionated, enthusiastic teaching. Black and white photos showcase the personalities at work. This is a staple of the cookbook shelf, for cooks of all levels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "A shortcut to sophistication"..."A godsend.", Dec 12 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The New American Chef: Cooking with the Best of Flavors and Techniques from Around the World (Hardcover)
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 enables 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)
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