"[The books of] Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page ...are the best place to experience the cult of the New American chef." NICHOLAS LEMANN, The New Yorker "A groundbreaking work filled with expert teaching and an abundance of mouthwatering recipes." MICHAEL ROMANO, Chef-partner, Union Square Cafe "Dornenburg and Page collaborate successfully once more...[a] thorough ...guide to the values, tastes, and methods that form each cuisine." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY "An invaluable reference." PATRICK O'CONNELL, Chef-owner, The Inn at Little Washington "Preparing good food is an act of love, which comes through on every page of The New American Chef." DR. ROBERT MULLER, Retired Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize nominee "This glorious work literally sings with the excitement of what is our own culinary make-up: diversity, passion, exuberance, intrigue, and spice." CHARLIE TROTTER, Chef-owner, Charlie Trotter's "Learning to think like the 'dream team' of culinary authorities featured in this brilliant book will inspire and guide you to juggle global ingredients and techniques so you can cook, and create, like a maestro."
MICHAEL GELB, New York Times bestselling author, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Featuring: 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 dozens more!
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)
MEET THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF.
CELEBRATING THE SEASONS THROUGH ALL THE SENSES.
While seasonality is a popular culinary touchstone throughout the world, the Japanese take their celebration of the seasons beyond the selection of produce in the market to the consideration of the flowers on the table, the types of bowls and plates used for serving the food, and the linens that dress the table. Seasonality is observed in every aspect of their lives-from the fabric of their clothing to the art on their walls.
PROCURING THE BEST INGREDIENTS.
The word “recipe” in Italian means “to procure”-and indeed, the most important aspect of good food in Italy starts with selecting the right ingredients. Learning to be as discriminating as an Italian chef will hold you in good stead when selecting ingredients from any part of the world.
LETTING INGREDIENTS TASTE OF WHAT THEY ARE.
While many countries are capable of serving and appreciating unadorned food, nowhere but in Spain is th is taken to such an extreme. The classic dishes of Spain are the simplest ones that let the natural flavors of the ingredients shine through. It is the only country whose regions are actually named after dishes: stews, roasts, rice, and fried foods.
WESTERN TECHNIQUES AND SAVOIR FAIRE.
The French contributed a codification of recipes and techniques to professional cooking, which is why most American cooking schools teach French technique. These techniques are timeless and consistent, and mastering the classics will give your cooking a solid foundation upon which to build.
EASTERN TECHNIQUES AND A YIN-YANG BALANCE.
The underlying philosophy of Chinese cuisine is rooted in the concept of yin-yang: a constant balance. Balance in Chinese cuisine is raised to an art form, both within a single dish, as well as among dishes on a menu. Understanding the concept of yin-yang and how to apply it to your cooking-in any vernacular-will make you a better chef.
THE MASTERFUL USE OF SPICES.
No other cuisine is as well known for spices as Indian. India consumes more spices per capita than any other nation on earth. From subtle to powerful Indian spicing is a force to be reckoned with-whether flavoring meats in the North or vegetarian dishes in the South-as well as a skill to be mastered.
WHERE CHILES REIGN SUPREME.
While chiles are an important part of cuisines elsewhere in the world, in Mexico they play the starring role: as a flavoring agent, as a condiment, as a vegetable, and more. Dish for dish, Mexicans manage to coax more flavor out of fresh and dried chiles than any other cooks on earth-indeed, Mexico’s very cuisine would not be the same without them.
BALANCING STRONG FLAVORS AND AROMATICS.
While in other countries a dish might first be appreciated with the eyes, in Thailand it is first appreciated through its scintillating aromas. No other cuisine employs aromatics as effectively as does Thai, and the intense sensory experience continues with the first bite, when the salty, sour, fiery, and sweet flavors begin their dance on the palate.
ENCOURAGING TACTILE AND TASTEFUL INTERACTION.
While the mark of culinary perfection elsewhere is the absence of salt and pepper on the table, in Vietnam, dishes are frequently served with a dizzying array of condiments-whether sauces, sprouts, and herbs for a dish of pho to lettuce leaves and a bowl of dipping sauce accompanying a plate of hot spring rolls. It is the diner’s own seasoning and preparation that completes the dish and the experience.
FEASTING IN COMFORT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
All countries have their celebrations and festivals, but in Morocco, feasting is a way of life. Their mealtime rituals-from hand-washing to lounging on cushions and pillows-all underscore the importance they place on their sensual enjoyment of food.
DISTINGUISHED CULINARY EXPERTS.