Archive for November, 2009
When Phaidon called to let me know I was invited to be in this book I had no idea what it was about. Then, I recieved a nice letter explaining how the decisions were made to chose the chefs. It was chefs choosing chefs! Not just any chefs but the power houses of the industry internationally. I am honored and in awe to be in the company of such great chefs from around the world. To be chosen to be in this great book by my mentor and elder statesman of offal, Fergus Henderson, is a great honor. To see more about the book, I’ve included the press release below, as well there is a link to pre order the book on amazon.
10 World Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs
Ferran Adrià (Spain), Mario Batali (USA), Shannon Bennett (Australia),
Alain Ducasse (France), Ferguson Henderson (UK), Yoshihiro Murato (Japan),
Gordon Ramsay (UK), René Redzepi (Denmark), Alice Waters (USA), and Jacky Yu (Hong Kong)
A mobile ice cream van in London. A Michelin-starred gastropub in New York. The dining program at the American Academy of Rome. A restaurant in a small village in Bali. A café in Tapei. A sandwich shop in Portland, Oregon. A mecca for offal obsessives in San Francisco. What do all of these seemingly disparate places have in common? They are where you will find some of the best chefs of today toiling away, and they are all in COCO: 10 World Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs (Phaidon Press; November 15, 2009; $49.95 hardcover), an unprecedented look at culinary movers and shakers from all corners of the globe that follows in the footsteps of Phaidon’s internationally popular 10×10 series.
The 100 chefs, creating the most innovative cuisine, include talent from Singapore to Spain and Australia to Athens, Georgia. Whether experimenting with new techniques and adventurous combinations or sticking to simple, delicious traditional dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced produce, these culinary artists have taken their craft to such impressive heights that they have captured the attention of these 10 top master chefs. With its vast and varied selection of recipes, COCO is an unrivaled snapshot of what is happening in current gastronomy.
Arranged alphabetically, COCO presents each chef over a gorgeous, full-color, four-page spread. Beginning with an inspiring and insightful essay from the chef curator explaining their pick, the chapter includes a brief bio, sample menu, and images of the restaurant, the kitchen, the chef at work and dishes, as well as accompanying recipes. While the selected chefs hail from different parts of the world and cook very different styles of cuisine in very different types of restaurants, they take their ingredients and methods equally seriously, perfecting their work. They have been selected not only for their food, but for their cooking philosophy and also the way they run their kitchens and how their restaurants have contributed to the culinary world-at-large. As Mario Batali writes in his essay on Hugh Acheson, “Making great food is only the half of it. Real energy and true talent come through when food is thoughtful.”
Part cookbook, part international restaurant guide and part who’s who in the international food scene, COCO showcases recipes that are completely doable like David Chang’s (Momofuku, New York City) Mackerel with Kimchi Puree, Oyster and Radish, Allison Vines-Rushing’s (MiLa, New Orleans) Sweet Potato Pappardelle with Roasted Shitake Mushrooms and Shaved Sheep Cheese, and Russell Moore’s (Camino, Oakland, CA) Lamb Leg a la Ficelle with Braised and Grilled Ribs, Merguez Sausage, and Fresh Shell Beans and the purely aspirational like Mads Refslund’s (MR, Copenhagen) Burning Fields: Aroma and Textures of Burning Fields, Glynn Purnell’s (Purnell’s, Birmingham) Duck Rolled in Licorice Charcoal, Japanese Black Rice, Tamarind, Licorice Puree, Salsify, and Green Beans, and José Avillez’s (Tavares Rico, Lisbon) Roasted Pigeon, A “Ferrero Rocher” of Truffle and Foie Gras, Sautéed Chard, and a Cinnamon-Flavor Sauce. The culinary icons also each share one of their definitive recipes such as Alice Waters’ Chicories Salad with Brandade Toast, Fergus Henderson’s Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad and Mario Batali’s Two-Minute Calamari, Sicilian Lifeguard Style.
And of course, a culinary book this visionary in scope wouldn’t be complete without a restaurant guide so that readers may travel the world to experience the gastronomic artistry for themselves.
TITLE: COCO: 10 World Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs
PUB DATE: November 15, 2009
Essential Cooking Equipment
Brittany Risher; Chris Cosentino photo by Lisa Hamilton
Use this list to stock your kitchen, and you’ll have all the tools you need to prepare an impressive meal
Sure, Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium is stocked with every pan, knife, and other food gadget ever made. But chances are you’ll never attempt a cookdown with Mario Batali. What you need are the essentials. To help ensure that you have the things you truly need, we talked to Chris Cosentino, chef partner at Incanto in San Francisco and partner and owner of Boccalone (boccalone.com), an artisan salumi business.
The first step, he says, is to determine what your cooking goal is. “”There are so many pieces of equipment,” Cosentino says, “but you don’t need to worry about them all. If you know what you want to do, you can set up your kitchen accordingly.”
Here are the things he recommends the average at-home chef should have on hand to make anything from a fast bite after work to an impressive dinner date.
1. A Cutting Board
“Having a proper wooden cutting is where everything is going to start from,” says Cosentino, who likes Boos cutting boards (johnboos.com). Go with wooden—although plastic is non-porous, you’re likely to put deeper knife marks into it, making it hard to clean and disinfect. And bacteria thrive in those scars.
Also, wood won’t dull your knives as quickly, and it draws bacteria below the surface—and therefore away from your food. In fact, a study by researchers at the University of California-Davis Food Safety Laboratory found that used, scarred wooden cutting boards had almost the same amount of bacteria on their surfaces as new wooden ones.
All you need are four: chef’s knife, paring knife, boning knife, and fillet knife. The paring knife is for smaller, precise work such as peeling, trimming, coring an apple, and sectioning an orange. The chef’s knife is your Jack-of-all-trades. Use it to chop, mince, and slice vegetables, fruit, herbs, and meat. The boning and fillet knives are self-explanatory.
Cosentino likes Japanese knives because they hold an edge better, he says. When you’re shopping, be sure to pick up the knife and hold it as you’d use it. “When you hold it, is it like an extension of your hand, or is it like having your shoe on the wrong foot?” Cosentino says. “You should like the way the handle feels and the weight of the knife.” If it feels right in your hands, it’s a good choice.
3. A Slow Cooker
“You want a cast-iron, enameled pot—what I call a braiser—to slow-cook items in,” says Cosentino, who has used his Calphalon slow cooker to do everything from make tomato sauce and jam to braise meat and cook a whole chicken. It’s extremely versatile (use it on the stovetop or in the oven) and easy to use: Just prep the ingredients the night before, put them into the pot before you leave for work in the morning, and when you come home, you have dinner. And, since the pot is heavy-bottomed, the heat is dispersed evenly, so you have less chance of burning your food.
4. Pans and Pots
Keep things simple (and your cabinet uncluttered): again, four is the magic number. Start with a saucepot to cook soup in and a larger pot to cook pasta in. Then look for 8-inch and 10-inch sauté pans made out of a non-reactive material, such as cast iron or stainless steel. “Aluminum can react with acidity and change the flavor of foods like tomatoes and asparagus,” Cosentino says. He uses Calphalon in the restaurant kitchen and also recommends Demeyere cookware.
But you don’t necessarily need to buy your pans and pots individually—a set may be the best option. “If you want the basics to make beautiful meals, buy a set, and, boom, you have all the pans in the world you need,” Cosentino says. “As long as have a stove and electric or gas, you’re set.” They’re also cheaper and you’re more likely to find sales on sets than on separate items.
5. A Pepper Mill
If you want your food to taste good, this overlooked item can make a big difference in flavor. Cosentino says to think about it this way: If you buy preground pepper at the store, who knows how long it’s been sitting there? And how long was it sitting prior arriving at your supermarket? He recommends grinding peppercorns with a Peugeot mill.
6. The Basics
Don’t overlook the obvious things such as a whisk, mixing bowl, spatula (Cosentino likes fish spatulas, which are good for both delicate and heavier foods), and the one thing no man can do without: a grill.
7. The Extras
Pass on the onion goggles, but if you have a few extra bucks, there are two nonessentials Cosentino thinks are worth it: a pizza stone and a Benriner mandolin (benriner.com).
- Buy a stone, and all you need to do is hit the grocery store for prepared dough and the toppings of your choice, and you’re ready to make a pie that tastes better—and has less grease and fewer calories—than delivery. “A pizza stone helps keep the oven temperature constant,” Cosentino says, and that results in a perfect crust.
- Use the mandolin for an easy way to julienne vegetables or cut them into matchsticks. You can quickly slice tons of vegetables and fruit with it, so you don’t need a knife, and they’ll all be uniform size, which can turn an ordinary salad into an impressive-looking course when you invite your girlfriend over for dinner.
To some the idea of a spreadable salumi is a bit out there, to me it’s perfectly rich, spicy, porky goodness. Nduja is a classical salumi from Calabria that has spread its way into my heart and others around the country. The most commonly asked question is what do I do with it? There are so many uses; pizza, crostini, bruschetta. So, here are a few recipes to keep everyone busy for a while, one is from me and the other from the great pastry chef and italophile Gina Depalma.
Offalgood readers, I’m writing to let you know about a food-themed travel series I’m doing next April. It’s called Argentina 444: 4 chefs, 4 cities, 4 seasons. Each season next year, one US chef will travel with a small group to four cities in Argentina. We’ll experience the best food, wine and restaurants of each region. I’ll be teaming up with chefs down there on what I’m sure will be some pretty incredible menus- the whole thing will be a great adventure for me and will definitely mean great meals for everyone who comes along. It’s all guided, exclusive, first-class, and the activities and restaurants being lined up sound incredible.
I’ll be going on the Spring U.S./Fall Argentina trip in April 2010 and you can come with me! Bookings are open to the public, to get more details. Contact Alberto Inza, who is organizing Argentina 444. You can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alberto can answer any questions you might have about the cities we’ll be visiting and the restaurants we’ll be dining in, as well as trip pricing and timing.
Hope this all sounds as exciting to you as it does to me. I’d love to see you at the table in Argentina next year!