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By Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page
A master class on ten of the world’s most influential cuisines – from some of America’s leading culinary experts.
What's the difference between a good cook and a great chef? Much of the difference lies in the fact that great chefs have a solid understanding of the foundational principles of cuisine, so that they can choose when to apply those principles – or when to purposely ignore them.
Chefs in America today are drawing freely from a global palette of flavors. However, the widespread availability of ingredients from around the world has far outpaced our ability to assimilate them successfully into our cooking, resulting – as top chefs and restaurant critics agree – in too many ill-conceived "fusion" efforts.
The New American Chef knows that he or she must master key reference points of various cuisines in order to be able to successfully integrate and innovate flavors. A thorough grounding in the foundational tenets of diverse culinary traditions will allow any cook to reach a new level of culinary artistry through knowing when to respect the essence of each cuisine as well as how to embellish more skillfully.
In this groundbreaking book that comprises a virtual international cooking school, James Beard Award-winning authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page interview a Who's Who of leading culinary authorities who share their insights into 10 influential cuisines and distill the essence of each cuisine into lessons that will make anyone a better cook – no matter what they’re cooking.
Each chapter is a "Cliffs Notes" style summary that helps the reader develop an appreciation for the distinctive ingredients, techniques, and tastes of a cuisine, and provides recipes for dishes bursting with flavor, based the expertise of such culinary stars as Jose Andres, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Floyd Cardoz, Penelope Casas, Alain Ducasse, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Kasma Loha-unchit, Zarela Martinez, Arun Sampanthavivat, Piero Selvaggio, Hiroko Shimbo, Nina Simonds, Masa Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Paula Wolfert, Su-Mei Yu, and more than a dozen other leading chefs, cookbook authors, and culinary experts. The essential lessons underlying each cuisine are shared:
- Japan: Celebrating the Seasons Through All the Senses
- Italy: Procuring the Best Ingredients
- Spain: Letting Ingredients Taste of What They Are
- France: Western Techniques and Savoir-Faire
- China: Eastern Techniques and Yin-Yang Balance
- India: The Masterful Use of Spices
- Mexico: Where Chiles Reign Supreme
- Thailand: Balancing Strong Flavors and Aromatics
- Vietnam: Encouraging Tactile and Tasteful Interaction
- Morocco: Feasting in Comfort with Family and Friends
Each chapter's guiding principle will enrich the quality of your cooking. In the chapter on Japanese cuisine, for example, the authors show how the Japanese take today's touchstone of "seasonality" to a whole new level, considering the season not only in terms of deciding what to cook, but also in the choice of plates, glassware and table linens on which the food is to be served, the flowers on the table, even the art on the walls.
With more than 100 mouthwatering recipes, such as Hubert Keller's Garlic and Saffron Soup, Charles Phan's Grapefruit Salad with Jicama and Candied Pecans, Julie Sahni’s Shrimp Madras, and Corinne Trang’s Sweet Coconut Soup, The New American Chef is packed with information and ideas that will inspire every cook. Nach Waxman of Kitchen Arts & Letters provides fascinating lists of recommended reading for continuing one's international exploration. The book is beautifully set off with artful black-and-white photographs by renowned photographer Michael Donnelly.
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