Book Reviews

Book review: Top Chef the Cookbook.


This extraordinary book was created using the episodes in each season of the TV reality show programme of Top Chef, hence the name.

Any reader who thinks this to be a frivolous book is wrong. It is a book of young ambitious, and eager cooks and executive chefs who lie to compete in one kitchen set-up for them and cameras to record their activities.

They are given themes, or set in unusual situations where they must decide how to proceed, or decide what to do to accomplish the task at hand.

Several things become clear while reading this colourful book. Americans have become interested in fine food, imaginatively presented, they have acquired sufficient culinary experience to decide what tastes good, and what is terrible, they understand food combination, texture, colour, and nutrition.

Young cooks and chefs constantly try to introduce foods that enjoy little popularity or are totally unknown, they are passionate about cooking; they are fearless in combining ingredients that classically-trained old-world European chefs never dared to put together and they know how important it is to interact with guests to explain how they created a particular dish, or specialty, or their “signature” recipe.

The text is entertaining but explains exactly how contestants acted on the set, or reacted after it was all over.

The text writer also included tidbits about the comments of judges including the head judge.

Each dish was presented to the judges for them to taste, evaluate, comment, and critically analyse and to decide who should be eliminated.

The photography is masterful and worth the price of this hard cover book.
Some of the recipes provided are simple enough for anyone to replicate. A few require more skill, but manageable by any interested home cook, yet a few others require considerable cooking skill and talent, but after a few tries and sufficient effort any amateur will be successful.

This days when big grocery stress have created departments offering fully prepared dishes from marinated artichokes to zabaglione it is refreshing to note that there are enough people who like to shop for food, prepare it, present it in an appetizing fashion, and enjoy it.

This book is a welcome addition for any food lover, and professional who want to try quinoa or pheasant, or quail, or falafel, just to provide some samples.

You can feed a family with bland, unimaginative foods, and people will survive, but if you want your friends and dependents to enjoy food, you should get Top Chef the Cook Book and read carefully to select recipes and try them.

Of course any young and ambitious chef must get it and immerse into all recipes, select those that are feasible in his/her restaurant, and put them on the menu!

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