Book reviews

August 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Over the last few months, apart from slaving myself in various kitchens, I’ve been reading a lot of culinary books. So much that one day my dear neighbor said to me, “Another one?”. It was not until that moment that I realized how many I went through. It is always such a joy to completely immerse the mind/soul into a book within that particular setting.

In 1985 at Chez Panisse, a serving of caviar only cost, $7.50 and clafoutis, $3.50, accompanied with an Argentinean band played lively tango music as ladies with red flowery dresses danced on tabletops, and everyone else clapped their hands while balancing a glass of wine. That same year, thousand miles away from California, at the end of the Gulf of Rose in Spain, Ferra Adria and his friends recreated one of their signature dish, pigeon in escabeche, into a sophisticated haute cuisine plate, quail with carrot escabeche.

Such moments of good reads are difficult to find. Yet, distinctively unalike, they simultaneously share a heart for food. Beating in the same rhythm to serve the best they can and put a smile on customers’ faces.
Here are a few books that either moved me to carry on when the chefs yelled too much that night, or spoke like guardian angels, understanding my plight to walk away from a bad situation.

Spiced by Dalia Jurgenson
She taught me that sometimes you just have to ignore the boys and get the work done. Being the only female in the kitchen can be daunting but also extremely encouraging. For a voice can be louder than any testosterone running around with a pair of baggy chef pants.

Art of Eating by M. K. Fisher
A quote I live by everyday,
” One of the saving graces of the less-monied people of the world has always been, theoretically, that they were forced to eat more unadulterated, less dishonest food than the rich-bitches. “
Leftovers taste so much better.

Waiter’s Rant by Steve Dublanica
Steve placed every hospitality representative on a brand new different level. We became the unspoken (and unpaid) psychologist, mathematician, cleaner and ultimate pleaser to unbelievable customers. One very important message I learn from him was to do your job and do it to your very best. Despite it all, it’s only food afterall.

Terre E Terre by Amanda Powley & Phil Taylor
A lovely restaurant in small town Brighton, serving brilliant elegant herbivore dishes. Who said we can’t make vegetables look beautiful on a plate?

40 years of Chez Panisse by Alice Water & Friends
The cafe itself is an inspiration. “This is not a restaurant”, said James Beard. Indulging myself at 2354, reading pages after pages of beautiful words describing everyone’s experience there; somehow, it made me have hope that there can be a family within a restaurant. People can be sincere, respectful and honest while sharing food and wine on the same table. More than ever, bonding authentic gastronomy and organic agriculture together.

Life, On the Line by Grant Achatz
This book brought emotions and laughter at the same time. His very sheer determination to follow every morsel of his dream to open one of the best restaurant in the country made it, the best.

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