Award-winning authors of BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT,
CHEF’S NIGHT OUT and the 2004 IACP Cookbook Award Finalist THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF
(Circulation: Our e-Newsletter goes out to 13,072 subscribers — among the most passionate food and wine lovers across the United States and around the world. For a FREE subscription for your favorite food enthusiast, simply enter an automatic subscription here.
To contact Andrew and/or Karen, please email Dornenburg@aol.com.)
“Your February e-Newsletter could not have come at a better time: My husband and I were in the midst of planning a family vacation to San Francisco with our two 20-something daughters.
The Hotel Triton sounded ideal and when I looked into it further, I was pleasantly surprised
by the reasonable rates, so I booked a room. Thanks for the lead. I fully intend on investigating Enoteca Viansa [the wine bar we raved about right next door] as well.”
— Pat Tanner, radio host, “Dining Today with Pat Tanner”(Moneytalk 1350 AM)
IN THIS ISSUE:I. SPRING GREETINGS FROM ANDREW & KAREN
II. NEWS BITES
III. IS THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON THE WORLD’S GREATEST RESTAURANT?
Our 48 Hours in Heaven (Which Looked a Lot Like Virginia)
IV. WHERE WE’RE EATING: In New York, New Orleans, Venice, Paris, Washington, DC and more
V. CONVERSATIONS WITH A YOUNG CHEF: Our Email Chat with Ty Tanji
VI. IN THE NEWS: The Latest Ink and Air Coverage of Our Books
VII. OUR READERS WRITE: From Across the U.S. and Around the World
I. SPRING GREETINGS FROM ANDREW & KARENDear Friends & Colleagues:
Sunday, March 20th, marked the first day of spring on the 2005 calendar. While we still haven’t shaken off winter colors and coats, nor incorporated asparagus and morels into our cooking, spring came early for us this year: Over the past month, we’ve experienced a season of re-birth, being re-awakened through traveling to new places and witnessing extraordinary metamorphoses.
Since our last e-Newsletter went out in mid-February, we’ve traversed “The Gates” of New York to New Orleans to Venice to Paris to Washington (both DC and VA), and we’re happy to share some of the highlights below:
* FLAVOR DEVELOPMENT IN NEW ORLEANS: Cicero observed, “What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the person who instructs the rising generation?” With that in mind, we enthusiastically accepted an invitation to deliver the keynote presentation on the topic of flavor development to a ballroom full of culinary instructors from across the country at the annual conference of FENI (Food Educators Network International) in New Orleans.
After our 50-minute talk at FENI touching on everything from the Italian Futurist movement of the early 20th century to contemporary molecular gastronomy and citing restaurants ranging from Spain’s El Bulli to Chicago’s Moto, we were asked to sign copies of our books outside the ballroom. During the signing, we were approached by a tall African-American chef who asked if he could have his photo taken with us. He told us that our first book BECOMING A CHEF had changed his life. When Andrew asked where he learned to cook, he shared that he’d learned while he was incarcerated. It turned out that this chef — Jeffrey Henderson — was a fellow speaker at the conference. So, instead of hitting the streets of New Orleans in search of beignets and chicory coffee as we’d planned, we decided to stay to hear his talk.
* FROM COCAINE DEALER TO EXECUTIVE CHEF: Jeff told the mesmerizing story of how he was formerly one of the biggest drug dealers in Los Angeles — before being sent to prison for 8 years. Prior to prison, the only thing he had ever cooked was crack. However, while inside, he was assigned to one of the lowest jobs of all: cleaning pots in the kitchen. He started to hang out with the chef, who taught him how to cook. Meanwhile, someone sent him a copy of our book BECOMING A CHEF, which he said was the first book he’d ever read cover to cover and inspired him to want to become a professional chef.
Since that time, Jeffrey Henderson has come a long way from his life of dealing drugs: Today, he is the Executive Chef of the Belaggio Hotel’s Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Chef Jeff is as focused on creating a better future as he is on atoning for his past: He thinks kitchen work is the perfect job for ex-cons, as it doesn’t require working with the public or handling money, and he hires former prisoners to work with him — giving them the chance to start over, as his first chef “on the outside” had given him. He said he spent so much time destroying communities that he feels it’s his responsibility to help rebuild them — so, he also goes back to the inner city to speak with young people, “nobly instructing” them to not make the same mistakes he made.
When Jeff credited BECOMING A CHEF with changing his life during his speech, Karen couldn’t hold back her tears. By the end of his amazing story, many others in the audience couldn’t, either — and Jeff received one of the most rousing standing ovations we have ever seen.
More than 100,000 copies of our book BECOMING A CHEF have been sold (dozens of them to Jeff and members of his staff, he told us). However, we would be proud to have written this book even if only a single copy was sold and ended up in Jeff’s hands to have the positive effect that it has had. Our heartfelt congratulations to our new friend Chef Jeff Henderson on his very long journey to the kitchen.
* FROM VENICE TO PARIS: When we mentioned to people that we were making our first-ever trip to Venice and asked for their tips, hair stylist extraordinaire Rosario Acquisto (whose eponymous salon at 22 East 66th Street; 212/ 288-3244; serves the best cappucino we’ve ever had in New York City) said it best: “The entire city of Venice is a museum — just walk!”
Gael Greene, long-time New York magazine restaurant critic and co-founder of Citymeals-on-Wheels, is in Venice finishing her memoir, and we were thrilled to be able to pay a visit. We were impressed with her focus and dedication to finishing her book, which we both can’t wait to read. After all, who else has dined at so many of the world’s best restaurants, had romantic encounters with so many icons (including Elvis Presley!), and raised so many millions to feed the homebound elderly? We had a phenomenal time roaming the streets by day with photographer Steven Richter, then going out for dinner every night together to some of the city’s best restaurants. You’ll have to wait for Gael’s upcoming magazine pieces to read details of our dinners, but we promise to keep you posted…and we’ll share the tip that we loved the gelato at both Alaska and Il Gelatone!
On our last morning, the vaporetto (water transport) went on strike, but we managed to make it to the airport on time anyway — only to learn that our direct flight back to New York’s JFK Airport was canceled. So, as we were re-routed through Paris, we decided to make lemonade out of lemons by spending the night there! We ended up visiting chef-restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten‘s first Parisian restaurant Market. This is a “citizen of the world” restaurant, featuring a contemporary atmosphere not to mention global cuisine with French accents, and you’ll find photos of our delicious dinner on our Web site here.
* FOOD AND BEVERAGE PAIRING: We’d love your help with our next book! Pizza with Chianti, sushi with sake, brats with beer….What are your favorite food and beverage pairings? Please let us know about restaurants, sommeliers and/or wine stores near you that have an uncommon touch when it comes to food and beverage pairing. You can email us your ideas and suggestions at Dornenburg@aol.com.
* OUR SEARCH FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER: We’re also looking for a talented amateur or professional photographer to work with on our next book, which will be published next year by Bulfinch Press — the distinguished publisher of gorgeous art books that first published Ansel Adams’ photography. We’d like to find someone who will appreciate the opportunity to have his or her photographs published by such an esteemed publisher, and who has both a passion for food and wine and an interest in bringing new artistry to photographing these subjects. If you or a photographer you know might be interested in this opportunity, we hope you’ll get in touch with us at Dornenburg@aol.com and send us a URL link to view sample photographs. (Sorry, we’re not able to download images emailed to us.)
* CONGRATULATIONS, BERNIE: And finally, our congratulations to our executive producer friend Bernard Sofronski (husband of actress Susan Dey), whose latest movie “MOM AT SIXTEEN”debuted last night on Lifetime Television. The movie stars Oscar-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl as Terry Jeffries, who decides to raise her teenage daughter’s baby as her own son. Since accepting the role, Ruehl has publicly shared her own painful decision to give up the son she had as a young mother. The Hollywood Reporter described the film as “Engaging….Sensitive, humorous at times, and entirely believable.” The movie is scheduled to air again this Thursday, March 24th, at 9 pm.
We love hearing from you, and look forward to receiving your email at Dornenburg@aol.com.
Andrew & Karen
II. NEWS BITES * Mark your calendars: Shake Shack reopens for the season in New York City’s Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue at 23rd St.) on Monday, April 4th! Don’t miss one of the very best hamburgers (not to mention milkshakes) in Manhattan!
* The third book in Ruth Reichl‘s memoir trilogy (kicked off by two of Karen’s favorite books, TENDER AT THE BONE and COMFORT ME WITH APPLES), GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES: The Secret LIfe of a Critic in Disguise is due to hit bookstores on April 7th! And if it’s anything like Ruth’s prior books (which we expect it surely will be), it will fly off the shelves quickly — so it’s all the more reason to advance order your copy today! Click here to order it now.
Those interested in an insider’s view of restaurant criticism might also enjoy our 1999 James Beard Award Finalist DINING OUT: Secrets from America’s Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurateurs, on whose cover (and in whose pages) Ruth is featured. Click here to order it now.
* Tonight (March 22nd), Solera restaurant in New York City kicks off a series of courses on Spanish wine, covering topics ranging from wine and cheese pairing to comparing Spanish and French wines. Instructor Ron Miller shared his insights into Spanish wines in THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF.
* Master sommelier Joseph Spellman is joining Joseph Phelps Vineyards as of this month.
* WEB SITE LINKS: As we mentioned in our last issue, you probably know that “well-connected”Web sites have certain advantages on the Internet. We appreciate your providing a link from your Web site to ours at www.becomingachef.com, and are happy to provide reciprocal links as a courtesy to other culinary-related sites. Simply email Julia at CookbookRave@aol.com with a link to our link on your site, and we’ll be happy to do the same for your food-or-wine-related site.
* CHICAGO AND MILWAUKEE, HERE WE COME: We’re soon heading to Chicago where our dear friend Rikki Klieman (a distinguished trial lawyer and legal analyst currently covering the Michael Jackson trial for E! News) is receiving Northwestern University’s highest honor — its 2005 Alumni Merit Award — at a ceremony on April 9th. We’re proud to be able to join Rikki’s husband LAPD Chief Bill Bratton and other family members and friends to cheer her on….In our book CHEF’S NIGHT OUT, we wrote that if you picked up Sandy D’Amato‘s restaurant Sanford in Milwaukee and plunked it down in the middle of Chicago, it would instantly be one of the city’s best restaurants. In the meantime, we hope Milwaukee knows how lucky it is to have such a gem of a restaurant in its midst. We’re looking forward to returning to Sanford next month when we’re in the Midwest to attend the Spring meeting of The Council of 100 at Northwestern University, where Karen — who, like Rikki, was selected from more than 85,000 Northwestern alumnae to be named one of the Council’s 100 founding members by Northwestern’s President — will speak on a panel April 13th.
III. IS THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON THE WORLD’S GREATEST RESTAURANT?
Our 48 Hours in Heaven (Which Looked a Lot Like Virginia)
“One of the 10 best restaurants in the world.”
—The International Herald-Tribune
“#1 in North America, and #2 in the World.”
—Travel + Leisure magazine’s “World’s Best” Awards
“Patrick O’Connell is the Pope of American Cuisine.”
A year ago this month, we participated in a panel discussion at Relais & Chateaux’s annual conference at The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, which also featured famed journalists Colman Andrews of Saveur, R.W. (“Johnny”) Apple of The New York Times, and Bill Rice of The Chicago Tribune. As thanks for our participation, Relais & Chateaux offered us a two-night holiday at any Relais & Chateaux property in North America.
Thus arose our dilemma: Where should we go? We live in Manhattan, and in any case, the exquisite Restaurant Daniel in New York City (where we have experienced more extraordinary meals than at any other restaurant on the planet) unfortunately doesn’t offer overnight accommodations. The first property with lodging to come to mind was The Point Resort in New York’s Adirondacks, as we doubted its legendary $1,000+ per night price tag would ever allow us to pay an extended visit otherwise. However, as we’re in the midst of researching our next book on food and beverage pairing, we were particularly interested in properties with extraordinary wine lists. Thus did places like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and The Little Nell in Aspen end up on our short list.
Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley sadly fell off our short list after we were told that a FedEx envelope overnighted to an employee at the resort this past December 14th and confirmed by FedEx as having been delivered at 11:02 am the next morning was inexplicably not received by its intended recipient until several weeks later. (We know — we’re still waiting for an explanation ourselves.) So, Napa was out.
A growing urge on both our parts had us examine the option of re-visiting the legendary Inn at Little Washington in Washingon, Virginia — where we’d spent the night of Andrew’s birthday in December 1995 and where Karen experienced the single most extraordinary dinner of her life, which she described in the Preface of our book CULINARY ARTISTRY this way:
“The most beautiful symphony of food I’ve ever experienced was in the dining room at The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, with chef Patrick O’Connell directing the kitchen’s preparation of a tasting menu that was a magical concert of flavors, aromas, textures, and visual surprises. It was a meal that touched my palate, my mind, and my heart, and left me speechless. When O’Connell stopped by our table afterward to see how we had enjoyed our dinner, words escaped me. Upon our departure, when we signed the Inn’s guest book, one word finally sprang to mind: ‘Transcendental.'”
The opportunity to return to the site of her most extraordinary meal raised a lot of issues. As culinary authors, one of the questions we’re asked most often is, “Where did you have the best meal of your life?” It’s quite handy to have a singular answer that you can discuss with great passion. However, what if we were to return and our second experience didn’t have the magic of the first? For that matter, what earthly experience could ever live up to such heavenly memories of a dinner that — in a lifetime blessed with several extraordinary meals — stood out as the single best?
We decided to face our fears, and made our reservation for a two-night stay at the Inn, with not a little trepidation.
Oh, we of little faith….Did we deserve the glimpse of Heaven with which we were subsequently provided throughout our 48 hours at The Inn at Little Washington? It is impossible to characterize every detail that was so perfectly appointed during our stay in the Mayor’s House, from copies of our books placed in the foyer of our room to greet us to the spectacular arrangements of fresh flowers.
Upon opening our menus in the dining room the first night, they had us at “hello.” Never before have we found ourselves depicted on a customized menu! Our menu featured the caricature of us that appears at the top of this e-Newsletter along with a banner headline reading “A Very Warm Welcome Back to Karen and Andrew.”
For Andrew, this visit included a culinary epiphany: In an era where culinary creativity has come to be marked by gimmicks and gadgets, he was blown away to have one of the most extraordinary dishes he’d ever tasted that was actually prepared using — get this — pots and pans. The taste of Poached Pullet Egg in Oxtail Consomme with Julienne Country Ham and Black Truffles was to us a gustatory symbol of all that is the Inn: elegant, luxurious, creative, with a sense of place — and truly over the top!
On that first night, Karen managed to maintain her composure until the next course: Prawns Roasted on Sizzling Salt. Yes, the dish was as simple as it sounds — but the miracle of each prawn being packed with as much flavor as it was brought tears to her eyes. Tasting the perfection of sheer simplicity was awe-inspiring. It was at this point in our tasting menu that she knew her first experience at the Inn hadn’t been a fluke.
Upon returning to our room and finding a beautiful fire lit in the fireplace while we were at dinner, we started to feel sorry for Patrick: How on earth was he supposed to top tonight? He’d already achieved the impossible of living up to Karen’s memory of her first extraordinary dinner there. We were happy. So, should we quit while we were ahead, and simply leave? This insane idea momentarily crossed our minds, but curiosity got the better of us. We fantasized about a second, low-key dinner, the pressure on all our parts having dissipated. Perhaps we’d simply order a few of the Inn’s classic dishes we’d not yet experienced, such as its famed dessert The Seven Deadly Sins, while we relaxed in the memory of our extraordinary tasting menu of the night before.
Oh, we of little faith….Did we deserve the second heavenly tasting menu that awaited us at the chef’s table of the kitchen on our second night, after our entrance to the kitchen was announced by a young man in full altar boy regalia swinging an incense vessel, with every cook in the kitchen standing at attention behind “the Pope (of American cuisine)” himself, while enormous white candles blazed and a recording of chanting monks sounded overhead?
We could go on and on….About the bottle of Champagne that awaited us in our room upon our arrival. About the dog-bone cookies and tiny glasses of dessert wine that were left in our room after dinner as a gift from one of the Inn’s two beautiful dalmations (complete with a note signed with a paw print!). About the world’s greatest breakfast the morning of our departure, which was capped off by a one-of-a-kind oatmeal souffle. Yes, we could go on and on about it all. And we doubtless will in the years to come, just as we have raved about our extraordinary 1995 experience at The Inn at Little Washington over the past decade. We’ve been thrilled to recommend it to friends and colleagues alike, and lived vicariously through their rave reports upon their return.
To you, we simply suggest this: Go! Whether you are a lover of food and wine or a restaurant professional (or both!), you likely haven’t experienced the potential of what the restaurant experience can be if you haven’t yet been to The Inn at Little Washington. It is truly raised to an art form in Washington, Virginia.
Is The Inn at Little Washington the world’s greatest restaurant? It is — without a doubt — the most extraordinary, magical place either of us has ever experienced this side of Heaven!
IV. WHERE WE’RE EATING: In New York, New Orleans, Paris, Washington, DC and more We’ve been delighted by so many recent food and wine experiences that you can find them described (and pictured) on our Web site Blog at http://www.becomingachef.com/blog.dwt.php.
You’ll find entries mentioning:
• Bayona; New Orleans — Fifteen years old this year, and still going strong as a jewel of the city.
• Burger Joint; New York City — Don’t blink in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien, or you’ll miss it.
• Burma; Washington, DC — Our first-ever Burmese lunch, thanks to Phyllis Richman.
• Café du Monde; New Orleans — Expect to be covered in powdered sugar (from the beignets).
• ChikaLicious; New York City — Our favorite dessert-only restaurant in the world.
• The Inn at Little Washington; Washington, Virginia — See Section III (above).
• Market; Paris, France — Our two meals there within a 14-hour period were both a delight.
• The Modern at the MoMA; New York City — Will this be Danny Meyer’s first four-star restaurant?
• Mother’s; New Orleans — Trust Paul Prudhomme, Zarela Martinez, and us — it’s wonderful.
• Picholine; New York City — With Terrance Brennan around, you’ve got a friend in cheeses.
• The Rib Room; New Orleans — Its excellent prime rib with blow-your-head-off fresh horseradish and its Friday lunchtime power scene offers the city’s best respite from oysters and tourists.
• Riingo; New York City — Marcus Samuelson does sushi up right.
• Que Huong (aka The Four Sisters); Falls Church, Virginia — Now we know why area chefs love it.
• Uglesich’s; New Orleans — Now we know why top chefs across America love it.
• Una Pizza Napoletana; New York City — Go early; they close when they run out of pizza dough.
• The Washington Post ‘s DC International Wine & Food Festival — and much more!
V. CONVERSATIONS WITH A YOUNG CHEF: Our Email Chat with Ty Tanji Last month, we received the following email:
“Dear Mr. Dornenburg:
I’m Ty Tanji, a junior at Hawaii Baptist Academy on Oahu. I’m conducting research for an English paper on my interest in the culinary arts. I’d like to ask you some questions concerning just the life of a chef in general. If you could please e-mail me a response back, I’d very much appreciate it. I have also sent this e-mail to your wife, Karen.
I have in my library two of your precious books — CULINARY ARTISTRY and BECOMING A CHEF. I treasure CULINARY ARTISTRY mainly because of the ‘flavor pals’ section and the chapter on ‘Composing a Dish.’ Invaluable Stuff! I hope to hear from you soon.
We thought any aspiring chefs among you or of your acquaintance might enjoy some of our response to Ty’s questions to us:
Q. Can a culinary school graduate attend cooking classes and still learn from them, or will the graduate pretty much know what’s being taught?
A. The best chefs never stop learning, and try to learn something new every day. In the new edition of BECOMING A CHEF (2003), celebrated cookbook author Emily Luchetti (award-winning pastry chef at Farallon in San Francisco) talked about how she went to a pastry store to sign up for a course in fondant — and they were aghast: “You’re Emily Luchetti! What are YOU doing TAKING a class?” And she simply admitted, “I know nothing about fondant, and I’m coming out of the closet!”
There is so much to know about food that it’s impossible to know it all. Ever.
Q. How helpful would it be to know a foreign language?
A. It is increasingly helpful. Many classic terms are French, but with the growing global palate (which we document in THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF), there is an increasing emphasis on flavors and techniques from around the world in most every kitchen.
Q. Is it true that chefs prefer simple, unadorned food as opposed to elegantly garnished, “tall” nouvelle cuisine after work is done? What do chefs normally like to cook at home?
A. In our book CHEF’S NIGHT OUT, we asked chefs where they most liked to eat on their nights (and days) off. For the most part, they tended to like the opposite of what they typically cooked — which gave their palates a break from the usual. For example, three- and four-star chefs love going out for a burger. (And not just ANY burger, but the best burger in town: They can’t turn off their palates for QUALITY!) Eric Ripert of four-star Le Bernardin in New York City loves seafood and serves it cooked hundreds of different ways, so on his night off he likes going out for sushi.
As for cooking at home, who doesn’t love comfort food? Chefs often like to cook family recipes they otherwise don’t get to eat — like San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins’ favorite chicken recipe taught to her by her Cajun father, which calls for a can of Campbell ‘s soup!
Q. Can future chefs dislike certain foods or must they be absolutely open to everything?
A. It’s hard at a traditional cooking school to be, say, a vegetarian, as learning to make and taste meat-based stocks is an important part of the curriculum. However, given the increasing diversity of culinary tastes and needs, it is possible to end up in a work environment where your tastes are shared, e.g. a vegetarian in a vegetarian restaurant or working as a personal chef to a vegetarian family.
Q. How are daily specials determined?
A. Often, by what’s left over in your walk-in! A smart chef will keep food costs down by eliminating waste. This process has the added bonus of spurring creativity: Some top chefs came up with their signature dishes by trying to figure out what to do with what was left over in their walk-in and pantry! (Some good stories about this in CULINARY ARTISTRY, e.g. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken coming up with the idea of stuffing long tubes of pasta with fennel-flavored chicken mousse.)
Hope this is helpful, Ty. All the best with your project, not to mention your future culinary pursuits!
Karen & Andrew
VI. IN THE NEWS: The Latest Ink and Air Coverage of Our BooksWe’re always happy to serve as resources to the media on food-and-wine-related topics. Journalists are welcome to contact us for comment at Dornenburg@aol.com or (212) 642-5870.
We’re particularly thrilled to see our 9-year-old book CULINARY ARTISTRY (1996) cracking bestseller lists across North America this past month!
“Bestselling Cooking, Food & Wine titles on Amazon.com for March 2005: #87) CULINARY ARTISTRY by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. (Overall National Site-Wide Ranking: #2165)”
—Amazon.com (March 20, 2005)
“Bestselling Cooking, Food & Wine titles on Amazon.ca for March 2005: #16) CULINARY ARTISTRY by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. (Overall National Site-Wide Ranking: #544)”
—Amazon.ca (Canada) (March 19, 2005)
“Bestsellers for February 2005: #10) CULINARY ARTISTRY by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. A classic since its publication in 1996. The authors interviewed 30 top American chefs — Gray Kunz, Rick Bayless, Jean-Louis Palladin, and Alice Waters among them — to discover the sources of their inspiration. For us mere mortals, the food matches section is invaluable. Softcover, 426 pp.”
—The Cookbook Store (Toronto) (March 2005)
“This week, we are getting back to the basics. If you have always wanted to complete your at-home culinary education or know somebody who wants to learn to cook, this will lead you to some of our favorite teaching cookbooks. You will find both new books and classics, each designed to instill the lessons needed to become a great cook….CULINARY ARTISTRY by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page: I love reading restaurant menus. Part of the charm of going out to eat is to see how chefs creatively string together ingredients and techniques to form an eloquently worded dish. If it seems like something you could never possible make at home, think again. In order to pair spices and foods, you do not have to be born into a family of famous cooks or enroll in your local cooking school. You can learn that culinary intuition with the help of James Beard award-winning authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. In CULINARY ARTISTRY, Dornenburg and Page break down the basics of creating menus, matching foods, and composing flavors. In a section titled ‘Flavor Cliques,’ they identify popular herb combinations like the bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley, and thyme, and the mirepoix of carrot, celery, and onion. The mystery of fine cooking is unraveled on the pages of CULINARY ARTISTRY so that you can introduce ingenuity into your cooking at home.”
—Jessica’s Biscuit e-Newsletter (March 3, 2005)
“Buying used and refurbished equipment can save you money….The examples are striking, like the used 50-quart Hobart mixer that Mark Dobbertin, who owns Vincenzo’s Pizzeria in Lakeville in New York ‘s Finger Lakes region, bought for $4,500 — as opposed to $14,000 for a new one, he says. Mario Batali, who has gone on to fame and fortune as the TV Food Network’s Italian expert, opened his first restaurant with nothing but used equipment, totaling less than $50,000, report Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, the authors of BECOMING A CHEF.”
—Jeff Siegel, Pizza Today (March 2005)
“Bestsellers For February 20 – February 26, 2005 : #5) CULINARY ARTISTRY by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.”
—Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks (Vancouver) (February 27, 2005)
“In addition to the many cookbooks on my shelves, there is a growing selection of books about cooking, dining and the culinary professions. They reflect what the publishing industry must surely be calling ‘an explosion of interest’ in this subject.
Some of my favorites in this genre are by the culinary husband-and-wife team of chef Andrew Dornenburg and Harvard M.B.A. Karen Page. Their first book, BECOMING A CHEF, won a 1996 James Beard Book Award for Best Writing on Food. It provides an insider’s view of how great chefs are being made today. That was followed by CULINARY ARTISTRY (1996), a favorite reference of chefs due to its musings on the sensory and artistic aspects of cooking, creating a menu, and its useful charts on seasonality and food and flavor pairings. And yes, recipes too.
DINING OUT came along in 1998, famous for its cover photo of then-New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, her face obscured by a wide-brimmed hat.
But Mr. Dornenburg and Ms. Page’s latest book, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF, may be the most useful yet for the home cook. The book serves as a primer on 10 ethnic cuisines from around the world. Content is drawn from nationally known chefs and authors, so the book has many voices…The information is well organized, so a quick read and a trip to the Indian grocery (or a well-stocked Asian or gourmet market) will have you cooking up a simple Indian meal by nightfall. Two recipes from the Indian section are below. While they are not difficult, they give a sense of the incredible mastery of spices Indian cuisine is known for, and of the possibilities that lay beyond.”
— Faith Bahadurian, The Princeton Packet (February 18, 2005)
To read these and other articles, visit our Media Room here.
VII. OUR READERS WRITE:We’d like to give special thanks to Lori Carr, James Clark, and June Jacobs for responding to our request last month for readers to share their favorite New Orleans restaurants. As is too often the case, our visit was a matter of “too many restaurants, too little time”! However, we’re happy to have their tips on file for our next trip to The Big Easy!
“If you have not tried Peristyle, it’s a must. The Duck is awesome. Also, a couple of my old favorites are Jacque-Imos on Oak Street and La Crepe Nanou Uptown. Both are very different and incredible. As a culinary student in New Orleans, I have soooooo many favorites: Brigtsen’s, Clancy’s, Rene Bistrot, Restaurant August. I could go on and on. Have fun in the city! Cheers,”
—Lori Carr / New Orleans, LA
“New Orleans restaurant recommendations….August:John Besh is very talented. Mother’s: Red Beans & Rice is the best in town. On Monday, go early — it fills up. Street Car Po Boy: The Pulled Duck Sandwich is my fave. Casamento’s: Oyster Po Boy the best. St. Roc’s: A scary place, but great Po Boys. Have a great trip,”
—James Clark, Executive Chef, Palette / Washington, DC (www.palettedc.com)
“As soon as I read your newsletter I had to tell you about one of the best food/wine pairings I have ever had. It was at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. The sommelier not only gave us a tasting of what perfectly went with all our courses but simultaneously gave us a taste of what we would have thought would be the perfect wine — and to drink it alone it was delicious, but when paired with the food the chemistry just didn’t work. In most cases, the wines that made music in our mouths was the one that was just OK to drink, but when combined with the sauces and proteins sang! It was also the most fun. The sommelier (I have his card at home) also gave us copies of the wine list and marked down the good/bad (which was never bad) and just the basic tasty. Good luck with your research!”
—Jennifer Fassman / New York City
P.S. from Jen Fassman: “I can’t wait for your new books. When I was starting school a very good friend — Glenn Harris, chef of Jane and The Neptune Room — said I shouldn’t even begin to think about being a chef without reading your book BECOMING A CHEF. It is my constant standby and I also am currently going through CULINARY ARTISTRY. And I don’t know if you are aware, but ICE [the Institute for Culinary Education, formerly known as Peter Kump’s] requires its students to read one of several books [including yours] in its 3rd module to get a realistic idea of the professional culinary world.”
“I not only love the food and ambience at Dooky Chase, a historic NOLA restaurant opened in 1941, but I adore Leah Chase! Don’t miss the chance to hug a legend while she’s still here! Please send me your mailing address. I would like to send you a copy of my cookbook, FEASTIVALS COOKS AT HOME, in which I pair every dish (except dessert) with wine….You might find it interesting.”
—June Jacobs, CCP, President and Executive Chef / www.feastivals.com
[June, how thoughtful of you! You’re welcome to send a copy of your book to us at 527 Third Avenue #130, New York, NY 10016. We look forward to reading it.]
“If you’re new fans of The Kimpton Hotel chain, you might enjoy knowing that 70 Park Avenue is New York’s first. Fabulous penthouse suite! We’ve enjoyed staying at The Madera, well located in DC, where you can get in-room exercise equipment, and friends have liked The Marlowe in Cambridge, MA. All are pet-friendly, by the way. I had two lunch adventures two days in a row, finally getting to try the beautiful Conde Nast cafeteria and then trying Starwich, in Citicorp Center where Cinnabon used to be.”
—Marilyn M. Machlowitz, Ph.D., Machlowitz Consultants, Inc. Executive Search / New York , NY (www.machlowitz.com)
“Michael’s in NYC and Santa Monica is a wine-friendly restaurant, and has had some excellent wine dinners over the past few years. And The Boston Harbor Hotel has the several month-long wine festival, so it has loads of experience (and I just enjoyed the Niebaum-Coppola dinner there last night). Private clubs tend to have excellent wine cellars, and I have had great wine and food at the University Club in NYC. One of my favorite subjects….”
—Kathy Murray, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (and Harvard Business School alumna) / New York, NY
“Konnichiwa from Tokyo! Happy to see my Two Boots pizza affinity is now out. Just a quick note to mention a restaurant which comes highly recommended from sommelier friends, Chef James McDevitt‘s Budo in Napa Valley. Also, if you are going international, I would like to suggest Zuma in London. The sake sommelier Sayaka Watanabe does great pairings with the food.”
—Yukari Pratt / Tokyo, Japan
“I would like to tell you what an inspiration your books have been to me especially when I first entered the industry. Every time someone I know expresses interest in becoming a cook/chef, I make it a point to share your books and encourage them to read them, especially BECOMING A CHEF.”
“It is always such a pleasure to read about your goings-on and follow your mad romps through the culinary landscape. I am excited to hear about your latest project. Though I don’t have a specific restaurant or sommelier to share, I did want to tell you about my book, The Wine Lover’s Dessert Book: Recipes and Pairings for the Perfect Glass of Wine. It will be out this fall, published by Chronicle Books. My co-author (pastry chef Mary Cech) and I had a fabulous time writing it. Fortunately, more and more restaurants are including a selection of sweet wines on their dessert menus, and sometimes offering specific matches. We hope to see more of it in the future. Best continued success to you both!”
—Jennie Schacht, Schacht & Associates / (www.schachtandassociates.com)
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
527 Third Ave. Suite 130
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 642-5870