Monday, July 2, 2007

Review | Think Like a Chef

A friend was over and spotted Thomas Coliccio’s Think Like a Chef on my bookshelf. He said “This book is the reason I became a chef.” Damn. That’s a bold statement – and it must be one heck of a book. Sheepishly, I had to admit to him that I hadn’t read the book or even looked at it that closely. In my defense, I bought it over five or six years ago when I wasn’t as much of a “foodie”. I appreciate good food, good cooking and good cookbooks much more now than I did then.

So I took that book off the shelf and read it cover to cover. And it is a good book. A really good book. There’s recipes. And pretty pictures. But it’s more than that. Coliccio organizes and paces the book in a way that really does get you into the mindset of a chef. He explains his ideas and approach to food in a way that makes sense and you can begin to see how you can apply them to your own cooking. In fact, I had one “ah ha” moment in particular that I think back to time and again:

“Believe it or not, I rarely begin with the thought Gee, I’ve got some beef. How should I serve it? The proteins – beef, lamb, chicken, fish – are the constants. What do change frequently, bringing the color and excitement of the changing seasons, are the vegetables. So, vegetables make up the building blocks that spark our imagination and let us fly.”

That paragraph changed the way I now think about cooking and creating meals and menus. Not quite as life-altering as going to culinary school, but worth the read.

3 comments:

David said...

Great post – it makes me want to borrow the book from your shelf!

em said...

I love your blog's look; and so far the content I've read is just as nice. This book sounds like one I'll have to get...I love an easy approach to the daily routine of making meals. Thank you for sharing your review and personal experience.

Katherine Gray said...

This is very heartening to me! This is how I put meals together, usually at the last minute. I've either got beef or chicken (if not, then eggs) and I just have to let the vegetables lead me, whatever I happen to have. For me this is just working-mother survival!