The last word on Shoemaker: Daniel Patterson read the shoemaker post and sent an email:

"Hi michael, saw your very amusing post, and my foh partner, who is from
la, worked with the shoemaker guy both at water grill and providence,
says he’s actually a terrific cook.

"…  always one of my fave cook
expressions! in my day they specified the kind of shoe – ‘he makes
ladies shoes’ (froufrou bullshit food), ‘work/construction boots’
(ugly, hamhanded food), etc."

(Here’s his good story on green garlic from yesterday’s NYTimes magazine.)

Cookbooks: People have asked about a new cookbook I mentioned in that post.  I and
the usual suspects from the previous books (French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon) have begun work on
another.  The book will focus on family-style cooking, in the style of Ad Hoc,
and great food to cook at home.  The book on sous vide cooking, called
Under Pressure, a sous vide manifesto that also comprises a full range of
dishes created by the chefs of the French Laundry and per se, will be
published by Artisan this fall.

At the CIA: A number of people have emailed to ask my opinion on the unrest at The Culinary Institute of America.  I don’t have a lot of insight.  I do know from a number of faculty that their concerns are genuine and that the President, Tim Ryan, can seem to them coolly corporate and perhaps dismissive of their position.  I admire the faculty of the CIA enormously.  Also, I like Ryan—he’s smart and has done a lot to advance the school; moreover, he is the man who approved my request to spend nine months at the Culinary to write my book, so I remain beholden to him.  I care a lot about this school.  I hope he takes the faculty’s concerns seriously and that he can engage in a transparent dialogue to address their concerns and describe his position on their issues.

This’s Elements: While I have my own elements of cooking, more than 900 of them, Hervé This has paired his list down to ten—the ten most important things to know in the kitchen.
Fascinating.  (Thanks, Philip Leventhall at Coumbia U Press.)  What’s so
great about them is that they’re all so obvious as to be ignored (salt
dissolves in water, for instance, and oil does not) and yet the
ramifications are pervasive.

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20 Wonderful responses to “Food Notes May 19”

  • JoP in Omaha

    A cookbook inspired by Ad Hoc? Awesome!! If you need testers, I bet you know where you could find some….

  • Linda

    I look forward to the new books you’re writing. You have such a great way with description! I also appreciate cookbooks, because that is how I’ve learned to cook. Growing up, our food choices were few and predictable. I always wanted more. Beginning with Julia Child when I was a teenager (and I still use her Mastering the Art of French Cooking), I’ve read and used many cookbooks, but I especially like those like TFL and Bouchon that teach me something new. I can’t wait to read your next books….

  • erik

    I blame it all on STUPID-ASS DAVE! btw, I went to Skyline Chili not too long ago, that is some good stuff.

  • Joseph Bayot

    I am really looking forward to the family style cookbook. I guess there isn’t a target release date is there?

    Either way, I’m very excited about that type of book, especially with Chef Keller’s background starting off in family meal under Chef Henin and also his success at Ad Hoc. Are Chef Cerciello and Chef Cruz also contributing?

  • Bill

    As long as we’re musing on standards, what should we say about the NYTimes Culinary Institute piece in which the hyperlink attached to “C.I.A” in the Jeremy Umansky quote takes one to stuff on the Central Intelligence Agency? I’ll bet your book editor would have caught that, Michael.

  • Andy Little

    As a graduate of CIA, I would like to weigh in on the current situation as described above. My only knowledge of the situation comes from the information written on this site. Here are my feelings….first, I read a comment that mentioned that the students at the CIA enrolled mainly because of advancements during TIm Ryan’s tenure as president. Wrong. Flat out wrong. I enrolled because I wanted a hard core culinary education. I wanted the specific, at times overbearing culinary education that I had heard the CIA had a reputation for. What I got was a diploma that opened doors for me in the business, but is losing its luster and bang as ‘the worlds premier culinary college’ focuses more on a VERY basic bachelor’s program(no, I don’t have their bachelors degree…I wanted to LEARN HOW TO COOK) and takes its eye off the ball regarding its bread and butter….MAKING GREAT COOKS. It used to be that CIA grads were respected in the business as hard workers and technically sound. Now….they’re looked at as whiners who want a ton of money that has no correlation to their actual experience. I actually saw a promotion on the CIA’s website that was advertising their graduates as ‘ready made managers’. Did someone actually write this without snickering? Ready made managers from a school that now is taking the emphasis away from cooking??? If I got a CIA graduate that had nothing more than the 6 months required for entrance and the CIA education could I seriously look at them with a straight face and say that they would be qualified to be an AM sous chef? NO. I hope that things get straightened out up there and the focus goes back to a HARD CORE CULINARY EDUCATION. Leave the hospitality management to schools like Cornell and Penn State. Leave the COOKING to CIA….like I heard it used to be.

    P.S. I know this post will win me no points with the Alumni Office at CIA, but that’s OK because these rocket scientists planned my reunion on a friday and saturday?!?!?!? When are the ‘push’ days for most cooks and chefs? How about planning these events for when the graduates can actually get there. I guess they just catering to their ‘ready made managers’ and graduates who aren’t cooking anymore….they can take friday and saturday off.

  • luis

    Been reading Martin Yan’s Asia…. long story short I have ordered 4 more of his books. The recipes are soo clean and crisp and wholesome. I love them. Page 214 Chanko Nabe soup…. El bulli can kiss my ass……

  • Andy Little

    As a graduate of CIA, I would like to weigh in on the current situation as described above. My only knowledge of the situation comes from the information written on this site. Here are my feelings….first, I read a comment that mentioned that the students at the CIA enrolled mainly because of advancements during TIm Ryan’s tenure as president. Wrong. Flat out wrong. I enrolled because I wanted a hard core culinary education. I wanted the specific, at times overbearing culinary education that I had heard the CIA had a reputation for. What I got was a diploma that opened doors for me in the business, but is losing its luster and bang as ‘the worlds premier culinary college’ focuses more on a VERY basic bachelor’s program(no, I don’t have their bachelors degree…I wanted to LEARN HOW TO COOK) and takes its eye off the ball regarding its bread and butter….MAKING GREAT COOKS. It used to be that CIA grads were respected in the business as hard workers and technically sound. Now….they’re looked at as whiners who want a ton of money that has no correlation to their actual experience. I actually saw a promotion on the CIA’s website that was advertising their graduates as ‘ready made managers’. Did someone actually write this without snickering? Ready made managers from a school that now is taking the emphasis away from cooking??? If I got a CIA graduate that had nothing more than the 6 months required for entrance and the CIA education could I seriously look at them with a straight face and say that they would be qualified to be an AM sous chef? NO. I hope that things get straightened out up there and the focus goes back to a HARD CORE CULINARY EDUCATION. Leave the hospitality management to schools like Cornell and Penn State. Leave the COOKING to CIA….like I heard it used to be.

    P.S. I know this post will win me no points with the Alumni Office at CIA, but that’s OK because these rocket scientists planned my reunion on a friday and saturday?!?!?!? When are the ‘push’ days for most cooks and chefs? How about planning these events for when the graduates can actually get there. I guess they just catering to their ‘ready made managers’ and graduates who aren’t cooking anymore….they can take friday and saturday off.

  • john

    the cia tuition is way too high for there to be complaints. the parking lot, which is the first thing visitors and students alike see, has been a joke for several years. i also have heard students complain about the crazy schedule, like 3am classes that aren’t baking-based.
    in my meager opinion, students who are serious enough to enter a school with the reputation cia has should be willing to tackle such a schedule, but at the same time, the school should be more selective and accept less students. that way students would not burn out and become disgruntled. they could use suny/new paltz across the river as an example of overstocked student body. we all know that the training is tough and cooking for a living is rough. there should be no issues of crammed dorms, that is sub-par at best.
    as a local, i have toured the campus a lot and can see that there is too much going on in one kitchen for many young people of today’s attention span and instant gratification-based-lifestyle to yield to be satisfied. people bitch about things all the time, whether or not the complaints are truly warranted.
    that being said, i feel that ryan alone cannot be blamed…the staff should be more of a commradarie and should handle issues together like adults. i have met several staff members there that i felt were way too uptight and stressed in general. i would hate to be the student of these instructors. for that kind of money, i would spend my tuition at a school where there are less aggravated people, both students and staff alike. it may be the best reputed culinary school in the usa, but if one doesn’t enjoy his or her education, then there is a problem of birthing disgruntled cooks (like we haven’t seen that before!).

    sorry to bitch, but that is how i view the cia. and that is why i chose to leave the area to attend a different culinary school. i think that was a wise decision, because i feel that i learned the same things without all the gripe, and i am not as poor as i would have been if i had chosen to go to hyde park to get a degree.
    as a matter of fact, post graduation, the day of, i got a great job in an awesome kitchen with the best chef i have ever worked under. he later told me that if i had gone to the cia he never would have hired me because if the attitude i could have copped when i saw how he used unconventional methods all over the place. damn, his food was awesome, his restaurant/brewery very successful, and it was the happiest kitchen i have ever had the pleasure to work in.

    an observation from a ranting chef wired on coffee. i may be right, but i may be wrong.

  • Vincent

    Very cool about the AD-HOC family style cookbook. I bought my Mom the French Laundry cookbook last year much to her frustration – she doesn’t have the patience for it.

  • lon

    Several generic comments about CIA controversy.

    1. I seem to have read the same type of comments aimed toward The Food Channel/Network in recent columns elsewhere, specifically the commercialization of the brand at the same time it is being “dumbed down.”

    2. Commercialization is happening all through academia. I was startled while walking through the administration building of a midwestern college recently to see the halls are named, the stairways are named, even the steps and windows are named. Every name came because that person gave money to the school. You don’t get much more commercial than that.

    3. The food business is mega business these days. There are very few companies growing our food anymore. If you look at labels and investigate their corporate backgrounds you will almost always see something like ADM, Tyson, ConAgra, Louis Dreyfus, Kellogs, Kraft and the like. ConAgra, for example, owns more than 50 different brands/companies, including Wolfgang Puck, Armour, Healthy Choice, Van Camps, many of which were once solitary companies.

    In essence, I guess I’m saying, growth often comes with trade-offs. Bigger is not better.

  • Joan

    A pity to read that article about the CIA. I thoroughly researched schools in the US and in France and I wish more serious wanna-be cooks in America knew about my school. It’s cheaper than all the mediocre to great culinary school’s in America, and the education is solid. It’s really too bad that the one of the few culinary schools in the US known for the quality of the education is beginning to slack.

  • Allan

    Thanks for the link on the NYT article about green garlic.

    We received a bunch of green garlic in our first CSA share last week, and have enjoyed it very much. We hope to get more this week.

  • NYCook

    From my inside sources at the CIA, my girlfriend, and peoplpe I know still attending or working at the school I have heard alot of what has happened. I would like to state that this is ALL second hand information however all people I spoke to are trust worthy and not much on embelishment Apparently there was a vote of no confidence in President Ryan and a petition with over two thirds of the faculties signatures on it calling that he be impeached.
    Shortly there after there was a SGA or student Gov’t meeting at which students were suppposed to have the situatuion clarified. It wasn’t Instead the schools administration put a gag order on the teachers, including ones scheduled to speak that evening and even tried to sensor the Schools newspaper
    La Papillote, the paper has traditionally been uncensored by school administration. The Editor of the school newspaper resigned and now there is talk of an underground student paper paid for by the students publishing it so the student body can have A VOICE!

    As a former student of the school, and with a significant other still there I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand this is just another thing people can give us CIA people crap about, because we allways have targets on our backs being graduates from “The Worlds Premeir Culinary Institute”.
    On the other hand I feel it’s about time. When I was there-not to many years ago- there was an open animosity towards Dr. Ryan and how little he did for the school, at the school. Meaning he might be out expanding the CIA brand to San Antonio and California, or raising money for the school in between Iron Chef America episodes, but was doing little for the general student.
    The old saying was you will see President Ryan twice while your hear. Once your first day of orientation and when you graduate. I saw him once. Not all of us get sit down interviews with the man to talk about the type of roux he likes to use to make his brown sauce.
    SORRY FOR THE LONG POST, BUT NOW YOU KNOW!!!
    Read NY times article if interested
    A Culinary Schools Changes Are Met With Unrest

  • Russ

    After reading the link on the turmoil at the CIA it struck me that while I am sure both sides are sincere in their beliefs, the students might want to remember that the CIA reputation that they enrolled to achieve was gained in large part while Mr. Ryan was in charge. If his decision making process was good enough to guide the school to what it has become, he might have a good idea of where it should proceed next.

  • doodad

    Looking forward to the new books Michael.

    I got Reach of a Chef yesterday to finish the series, so it is timely in reading the opening bit about Ryan and the CIA.

    You have steered me so far in home cooking it is not funny. Now that I am interning in a local country club, I have less time to keep my family happy. I usually cook heavy on weekends so we can relax during the week. I now work in the club on one weekend day so I use fast methods for that day’s dinner. Grilling comes in handy as does my wok.

    Home cooking to me is about economy and taste. I think when I buy from start to finish. Chicken quarters and wings are cheap, yield stock and meat for subsequent dinners. Even the subsequent dinners yield usable leftovers as the jamblaya I am making today from three dinners attests.

  • Victoria

    Oh boy, another great book to look forward to. I love THE and Bouchon, so I am happy to hear this news. I have a good from from Australia, who just got married, and came to NYC with her husband for their honeymoon. I gave them a number of presents – some favorite cookbooks along with measuring cups as I know that down under they measure differently. Alas, I did not give her your Elements. After a number of phone calls – one of them at 5:00 a.m. NY time asking what it means to “mince,” I told her about Elements. She ordered it pronto from Amazon, and I know it will solve a lot of problems. I shoulda thunk it on my onw.

  • luis

    A book about family style cooking from inspired chefs is sure to be a big hit with everyone. I look forward learning more about it.

    There are two types of homecooking in America. The cooking a stay at home mom manages to cook with love and time to dedicate to it, and the haphazard fare working folks hash together with 70% of the ingredients on hand.

    And the frozen dinners…lots of folks at work either buy their lunch or reach for a frozen dinner out of their backpacks.

    I have many of Michaels books on my shelf and was again reading the intro to Bouchon and it struck a chord with me. How society takes a dish like quiche and dumbs it down to something entirelly indistiguished. I see the same thing happening to dishes from my childhood. Incredible that Bouchon points this very thing out. Small world.

    Saturday I had herbed chicken with veggies and spring rolls down in the Brickell restaurant row district in Miami..and what the chef did with that dish is enough to keep me away from restaurants for good. Family likes to eat out whatch yo gonna do?.

    On a related subject, soon the Olympics in Beijing will shine a light on Chinese style cooking. I could be wrong about that. But I look forward to exciting articles on Chinese food and books on Chinese cooking inspired by the Olympics in Beijin.