Recently, I have been hooked on those contest cooking shows that seemed to have exploded on to the scene. You might know the ones I’m talking about… Iron Chef, Top Chef, Chopped, etc. It fascinates me that these chefs can make a delicious meal out of those most unusual ingredients. I mean who has ever seen an uni? (If you want to learn more about this ingredient check out this article from Star Chefs online magazine.)
Growing up, I always thought that you had to have a recipe in order to make specific dishes. These shows have shown me that you can make delicious food without a recipe by just knowing some basic techniques, principles and food parings. When I watch these types of shows, especially the judging, it has reinforced that while cooking uses science to understand the interaction of ingredients it truly is an art in that it is in the eye of the beholder… I mean taster.
The library has several books written by the stars and participants of these shows. While the shows have enabled me to be creative in many of the dishes I make, I still enjoy books that not only inspire me but enhance the information I gather from watching these shows.
Mission Cook by Robert Irvine
Trained by the best European chefs, Robert also shares his cooking philosophy, his best recipes and tips on how to add that special twist to any dish.
The Soul of a new cuisine: a discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson
In The Soul of a New Cuisine , Marcus returns to the land of his birth to explore the continent’s rich diversity of cultures and cuisines through recipes and stories from his travels in Africa.
New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson
From the winner of Top Chef Masters An affectionate, thoroughly diverse tribute to the modern American table “I’ll introduce you to friends I’ve met along the way who have shared their foods, told me their stories and inspired me with their passion.
Good Eats: the early years by Alton Brown
Contains more than 140 recipes and close to 1,000 photographs and illustrations from the Peabody Award-winning TV show, “Good Eats”, along with explanations of techniques, lots of food-science information (of course!) and more food puns, food jokes and food trivia than you can shake a wooden spoon at.
Michael Symon’s Live to Cook by Michael Symon
Michael tells the amazing story of his whirlwind rise to fame by sharing the food and incredible recipes that have marked his route.
Cooking from the Hip by Cat Cora
Iron Chef America, Cat Cora is used to improvising exciting dishes on a moment’s notice. In this book she shows you how to do it too, whether you want a spur-of-the-moment supper or a spectacular dinner that doesn’t require spending your whole Saturday in the kitchen.
Everything the home chef needs to assemble an impressive meal and channel the energy of the Quickfire kitchen is collected here, including advice on hosting a Quickfire Cocktail Party and staging Quickfire Challenges at home