Lifelong Books, $35.00, 460 pages
Chefs Olivier Said and MikeC., founders and instructors of the Berkeley cooking school “Kitchen on Fire,” give home cooks a “boot camp” version of professional cooking classes in their new cook book Kitchen on Fire! Mastering the Art of Cooking in 12 Weeks (or Less). The difference between a home cook and a home chef, according to the authors, lies in one’s knowledge of the science that governs the foods at hand: “A cook is someone who can read a recipe, follow the directions, and hopefully turn out a good dish. A chef knows how to manipulate food using the right cooking methods to achieve the desired results every time.”
More an instruction guide than a cookbook, Kitchen on Fire! is a wonderful, comprehensive resource for the at-home chef who wants to learn not only the details of such knife skills as “swooping” and “roulade,” but also the details of food density, osmosis, and diffusion. From 14 pages – color photos included – detailing how to scramble eggs, fry sunny-side up, and bake eggs in individual ramekins, to enticing recipes for “Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Brown Butter Soup” and “Balsamic Pickled Shallots,” Kitchen on Fire! is a must-have for any kitchen.
Jennie A. Harrop