I spent the first week of March in Manhattan digging into the work of writing The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook with Thomas Keller and executive chef Sebastien Rouxel, whom Keller calls “easily one of the 10 best pastry chefs in the country.” This project is especially exciting to me because I’ve spent my whole culinary career on the savory side and in hot kitchens and my knowledge of pastry is rudimentary. It’s very exciting to be able to explore a whole knew culinary world, and to do it with someone as knowledgeable as Sebastien and his team. Get ready for the opening of their stand alone bakery next month at Rockefeller Center—it’s frigging gorgeous, design of course by Tihany. In addition to the interviews and discussions with I had about the book with chefs Keller and Read On »

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Tomorrow, I review Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking for The New York Times, the heavily hyped and praised 6 volume, 2400-page romp through the whole world of cooking, a manifesto pronouncing the arrival of a new cultural movement.  I’ll be happy to answer questions here tomorrow about the book or the review and I’ll look in on the Times food blog as well where I describe my first attempt at cooking from the book (photo below). I confess this was an incredibly daunting assignment.  It’s an honor to be able to hold forth on what some are calling, accurately, the most important cookbook in years (seven, by my count, since McGee’s revised On Food and Cooking was published), in The Times, no less. A huge responsibility. I’d need as many degrees as Read On »

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I was speaking with my dear friend Lee Jacobs over a pint of Great Lakes Dortmunder at our local pool hall yesterday and she told me after much deliberation, she’d decided on asking for Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan, of course, is prolific cookbook author (and blogger) who has focused in the past on baking and sweets, but here she both broadens and personalizes her approach, which may account for the gangbuster start for her book.  Dorie, who’s so admired she has entire blog groups devoted to her work, is always excellent and this is a gorgeous well done book. Lee had asked me what books I would recommend.  Here are a few of the books that have caught my attention this season. For Read On »

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This review can’t begin without the kind of disclosure that reveals even more than I know to reveal.  Kitchen Confidential annoyed me when I read it.  I was grudging.  The guy could write—this fucking hack cook.  Annoying.  He could really write.  Not only was I jealous, but I also saw it as a danger.  This guy was so compelling, so romantic in his portrayal of cooks, I worried for all the young cooks about to move into this world. There couldn’t possibly be a worse role model for young chefs than the author of Kitchen Confidential, and yet the hordes were following this piper gleefully and indiscriminately (would they too like to be selling their old paperbacks at 95th and Broadway in winter for heroin money?).  Also his book was more successful by far than Read On »

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I’m thrilled to announce that Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, has now been published at an enormously friendly price, in pocket-friendly flexibility. That wickedly smart television personality, author and speaker, food guru Alton Brown, chose the book as one his Top 5 cookbooks, period: “This is a refreshing, illuminating and perhaps even revolutionary look at the relations that make food work,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal.  (Brown has a new book out next month, Good Eats: The Middle Years.) My favorite review was in Slate, in which Jennifer Reese asserts that Ratio is a “fascinating and pompous new book.”  Who the hell is Jennifer Reese?! NPR reporter Guy Raz read Reese’s skeptical but ultimately won-over verdict and did this piece for All Things Considered. If you’re new to Read On »

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