better explain! I have cooked with Chef Tom Colicchio
on numerous occasions and can attest first hand
to his technical mastery and passion for excellent
products. Tom made a very good name for himself
working at a number of East Coast restaurants. Most
notably he co-created "Gramercy Tavern"
in New York City with restaurateur Danny Meyer.
Tom won the James Beard Award for "Best Chef
New York City" last year and that is the toughest
division of them all for regional categories.
In his new cookbook,
"Think Like a Chef," he doesnt just
teach recipes he teaches the Whys of cooking.
The very first book that "launched" my
vision was just such a book. It was James Beards
"Theory and Practice of Good Cooking."
Mr. Beard could have used the benefit of Toms
photographer. The food looks stunning, which makes
us, of course, want to make it.
Toms book would
be good for many chefs to read. Too often the fundamentals
are lost in the zeal to make food seem more than
it should be. The primary chapters are about roasting,
braising, blanching, stock-making and sauce-making.
He moves from there to chapters that encompass "studies."
What he means by this is the intensive investigation
of a single ingredient, which he looks at (and provides
recipes for) from various angles. The chapter on
"Tomatoes" takes us from raw tomatoes
and garlic through a Ragout of Clams with Pancetta
and Mustard Greens to Caramelized Tomato Tarts.
From there he goes forward with a section on "Trilogies."
Here he weaves together a more chordal-like arrangement
that showcases three different ingredients that
are very powerful in their unification. Examples?
How about "Duck, Root Vegetables and Apples"?
In introducing the recipe Chef C. reveals a maxim
of this thinking of his. He states, "What grows
together goes together." Here he means the
seasonality of the ingredients create a harmony
that nature sets up in the template of time.
He ends the book with
a chapter called "A Few Favorites." Thanks
Tom. This book is one of mine now. It was really
© by Norman Van Aken, 2001