Chef, Interrupted: Delicious Chefs' Recipes That You Can Actually Make at Home

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9780715309933: Chef, Interrupted: Delicious Chefs' Recipes That You Can Actually Make at Home

For anyone who aspires to restaurant-chef-type food but not the long ingredient lists and interminable cooking directions, here’s the perfect book. Melissa Clark retains the spark of genius in the chefs’ original time-consuming recipes, but pares them down (interrupts the chefs) to their most essential, simple elements, allowing any cook to create four-star cuisine at home without a staff of sous-chefs, an unlimited budget, and an entire weekend to fritter away. Chef, Interrupted is like taking a cooking class from not one or two but more than fifty world-renowned chefs across a broad spectrum of expertise, including seafood with Eric Ripert and dessert with Claudia Fleming, American standouts like Tom Colicchio and Wylie Dufresne, and the international flavors of Norman Van Aken, Bobby Flay, and Marcus Samuelsson.

For the past decade, Melissa Clark has made a name for herself by doing one thing very adeptly: making chefs’ recipes accessible to home cooks, whether through coauthoring books with the likes of David Bouley and Daniel Boulud or writing “The Chef” columns and other articles in the New York Times. Melissa is a genius at discovering what’s really great about a chef’s recipe, then simplifying it—keeping the part where the recipe is inventive and delicious, and then interrupting the chef when it gets out of hand.

The result—this book—is a remarkable combination of creative cuisine and real-life practicalities, and Chef, Interrupted offers a fantastic panoply of mouthwatering dishes. From salads like Suzanne Goin’s Arugula-Mint Salad with Apricots and Cumin to fish like Christian Delouvrier’s Roasted Cod with Brandade Potatoes, from Jonathan Waxman’s Pollo al Forno with Panzanella to Tom Douglas’s Citrus-Braised Pork Shank with Bread-Crumb Gremolata, from Bill Telepan’s Heirloom Pea Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche to Claudia Fleming’s Goat Cheese Cake with Thyme-Macerated Raspberry Compote—this is restaurant food that you can really and truly make at home.

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Review:

Chefs' cookbooks are notorious for enticing recipes that home cooks can't hack. In Chef, Interrupted, Melissa Clark betters the situation. She's taken recipes from leading chefs like Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, and Alain Ducasse and pared them down--interrupted them, as she puts it--for home use. Included are the attractive likes of Heirloom Pea Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche; Spaghetti with Preserved Tuna, Lemon Zest, Hot Pepper, Capers, and Olives; Tagine of Lamb Shanks with Prunes, Ginger, and Toasted Almonds; and Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits with Caramelized Bananas.

Clark has the technical smarts (and taste) to know where and how to nip and tuck, usually by removing ancillary preparations or unnecessary steps. If her conscientious work often makes otherwise inaccessible dishes more approachable, readers should also know that many of the dishes, which can call for special ingredients, are still not for everyday cooking. But food-loving readers interested in last-word creations will undoubtedly want to try making this standout fare. To further ease the way, Clark and the chefs provide copious notes that help explain ingredients and techniques while recipe intros offer even more elucidation. With photos that depict the dishes and multiple shots of the author with the chefs on the job, the book should bring top-drawer dining closer to home. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Melissa Clark is the author or coauthor of sixteen cookbooks, including The Last Course with Claudia Fleming, East of Paris with David Bouley, and The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen with Peter Berley, which won awards from both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She has written about food in dozens of magazines and newspapers. She lives in Brooklyn.

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