Synopses & Reviews
With Think Like a Chef, Tom Colicchio has created a new kind of cookbook. Rather than list a series of restaurant recipes, he uses simple steps to deconstruct a chef's creative process, making it easily available to any home cook.
He starts with techniques: What's roasting, for example, and how do you do it in the oven or on top of the stove? He also gets you comfortable with braising, sautéing, and making stocks and sauces. Next he introduces simple "ingredients", roasted tomatoes, say, or braised artichokes and tells you how to use them in a variety of ways. So those easy roasted tomatoes may be turned into anything from a vinaigrette to a caramelized tomato tart, with many delicious options in between.
In a section called Trilogies, Tom takes three ingredients and puts them together to make one dish that's quick and other dishes that are increasingly more involved. As Tom says, "Juxtaposed in interesting ways, these ingredients prove that the whole can be greater than the sum of their parts," and you'll agree once you've tasted the Ragout of Asparagus, Morels, and Ramps or the Baked Free-Form "Ravioli" both dishes made with the same trilogy of ingredients.
The final section of the books offers simple recipes for components from zucchini with lemon thyme to roasted endive with whole spices to boulangerie potatoes that can be used in endless combinations.
Written in Tom's warm and friendly voice and illustrated with glorious photographs of finished dishes, Think Like a Chef will bring out the master chef in all of us.
"Unlike many chef-authors, Colicchio (chef at Gramercy Tavern) does not offer modified restaurant recipes for the home cook. Instead, he sets out to inspire readers to think like trained chefs: to riff on ingredients and techniques rather than always follow recipes to the last letter. Indeed, the recipes Colicchio includes serve as creative fodder rather than authoritarian instructions. He begins with techniques ('Get these [roasting, braising, blanching, sweating, stock making and sauce making] down, and you've mastered the most fundamental tools to creating great recipes'). The chapter on sauce-making includes excellent basic instructions that can be used for variations such as Apple Cider Sauce and Lemon-Rosemary Vinaigrette. He is the first to admit that his approach is unusual, but it works beautifully, and dishes such as Artichoke and Tomato Gratin and Root Vegetable Soup with Apples and Duck Ham not only illustrate the author's premise effectively, but also sound delicious. Colicchio has a natural voice there's no foodie pretentiousness here at all, and his book is as straightforward, yet inventive, as the food he serves." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Recipes are layered within recipes. Instructions refer you to techniques in previous chapters. Your weekend is suddenly absorbed by toiling in the kitchen. And yet, I found myself happily doing this because Mr. Colicchio does what so few chef-authors do: he explains in clear detail how he thinks, and gives you a chance at replicating his methodology. It is just what many cooks who buy chefs' books are looking for but never get. New York Times
The chef and co-owner of New York's acclaimed Gramercy Tavern presents not just recipes, but the skills and confidence to improvise in the kitchen the surest path to creating true culinary magic. 125 full-color photos.
About the Author
Tom Colicchio is chef/owner of New York's celebrated Gramercy Tavern and chef/owner of the newly opened Craft. He is the winner of the James Beard/American Express Best Chef Award for New York City. This is his first book.