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How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World's Greatest Chefs Copertina flessibile – 2 ottobre 2007
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Kimberly Witherspoon is a founding partner at Inkwell Management, a literary agency based in Manhattan, and is the coeditor of Don't Try This at Home: Culinary Castastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs. She lives with her family in North Salem, New York. Peter Meehan writes about food and drink. He contributes regularly to the New York Times.
- Editore : Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA; Reprint edizione (2 ottobre 2007)
- Lingua : Inglese
- Copertina flessibile : 306 pagine
- ISBN-10 : 1596913851
- ISBN-13 : 978-1596913851
- Peso articolo : 318 g
- Dimensioni : 12.78 x 2.36 x 22.33 cm
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I agree with the other review for the most part, but wanted to post my 5 star response based on different expectations. If you enjoy reading the experiences of some of the best chefs (and food writers) around, and enjoy a mixture of emotions (from Rick Bayless's sweet and heartfelt reflections on how Julia Child affected his life to Tony Bourdain's entertaining experiences trying to demonstrate recipes while hawking books on tv), this is a fun read--with information about food and techniques and "how to get from here to there" somewhat embedded throughout i. \
A fun glimpse into the personalities and experiences of many familiar names (nicely organized alphabetically--Ferran Adria kicks it off). I enjoyed this book very much.
Not only is there less difference between the books than is suggested by the titles, this second volume shares most of the quirks and slight misrepresentations of the original volume. The following quote from my review of the first volume is exactly true of this new effort:
"Two things which are misleading from the title are the fact that some of the contributors are not among `The World's Greatest Chefs' (from the subtitle at the top of the page) and many of the incidents recounted in the book are less about cooking per se than about relations between people in the kitchen, between the kitchen and management, and between the kitchen (back of the house) and the wait staff (front of the house)."
We even have a very similar list of contributors, giving us the notion that the material for the two books was collected at the same time, and this second volume is `leftovers'. This is slightly misleading, as I believe the quality of the material in the two books is roughly the same. Note that while several of the contributors such as Mark Bittman, Anthony Bourdain, Marcella Hazan and Tamasin Day-Lewis are not among `the world's greatest chefs', they ARE among the world's most articulate culinary writers! In fact, the party line on Bourdain is that he is actually a much better writer than he is a chef (Witness his self-confessed cheating at the CIA when he sneaked bouillon cubes into his stock making classes).
That is not to say we don't have a fair serving of true 'worlds greatest chefs' such as Ferran Adria, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Pierre Herme, Michel Richard, Eric Rippert, and Norm Van Aken.
Some of the lessons in these essays may be accidental. For example, Mark Bittman's piece says practically nothing about how he learned how to cook, but it speaks volumes about the difference between someone who writes about cooking and a professional cook. I can imagine that if a talented chef such as Tom Colicchio were put into Bittman's position of discovering they had to cook for a party of eight with four hours to go, Colicchio would have handled it in a walk, without even breaking a sweat.
The level of true culinary information is also, like the earlier volume, pretty slim. One group of `accidental' lessons is the extent to which those two great teachers, Julia Child and Madeleine Kamman were respected by their counterparts among the up and coming ranks of professional chefs. It also gives a small glimpse into the differences between the unflappable Child and the sometimes petulant Kamman.
A third type of lesson is some insights into the vast difference between the qualities of two different kitchens with roughly equal reputations. One example reveals how horrible it was for a Chez Panisse alum to find themselves staging at a Michelin two star restaurant which practiced sanitation poorer than a second rate Jersey diner. One would like to think this kind of thing reported so graphically by George Orwell in `Down and Out in London and Paris' had disappeared with the advent of the Michelin guides and their copiers, but apparently it has not.
My final verdict on the first volume is the same as my findings on this one. To wit:
"In many ways, this book is the culinary version of `The world's funniest pets'. It's a guilty pleasure which may contribute to your understanding of human nature, but it is not likely to help your cooking one wit. The greatest impression I get from the book is the difference between the professional culinary workplace and the kind of technical, research oriented business office with which I am familiar. ... I do get the sense from this and other sources that the professional kitchen is a human pressure cooker where tempers get as hot as the sautéed sole, about as often as that fish may be ordered.
Thus, I found this book remarkably entertaining and informative, but not for the reasons you may gather from the cover or the editors' introduction. If you liked `Kitchen Confidential', you will certainly like this book." On the other hand, if you are really interested primarily in culinary education, invest in Child's 'Mastering the Ard of French Cooking' or Kamman's 'The New Education of a Chef'!
It could have been a relatively enjoyable, light fluffy book with blurbs from chefs that I admire, but the lack of professionalism in the editing and formatting of the kindle edition left me flabbergasted.
After I read this book I took notes on the publications of the chefs I liked and ended up in the bookstore reviewing 8 or 9 cookbooks. I bought 2 of them.