By Colby, Megan Garrelts, Bonjwing Lee
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $45.00, 282 pages

Occasionally, cookbooks written by restaurant chefs are user friendly for home cooks but Bluestem is not one of these. Many of the recipes are very good and you would welcome the results when dining out but you would not want to attempt them in your own kitchen. You may undertake a few when entertaining, have a very large food budget and are willing to spend considerable time looking for ingredients and in preparation but these recipes are not for everyday cooking. Take such a simple food as gnocchi: you need to find “00” flour and fresh nettle leaves. For Jonah Crab you will need to find ingredients like Jonah crabmeat, togarashi and prepare cucumber juice. For many recipes ingredients and preparations are available in the walk-in of a restaurant kitchen but hardly in a home pantry. For some recipes you need as many as four different preparations before assembling the recipe (e.g. Pea Soup).

“…all of the dishes in this cookbook, like those served in the restaurant, demonstrate that find dining can be playful and, with a bit of care and dedication, doable in home kitchens…”

This is a large-format, beautifully illustrated cookbook, nicely designed, having most recipes on a single or adjoining pages. But the recipe writing was obviously done by professionals, using some equipment not accessible to home cooks and terminology few would understand. Instructions and index are very good.

Reviewed by George Erdosh,