THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOKS...
...are one of the hottest trends in cookbooks.
Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual schtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work, but how could that be? They all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. But of course there are a lot of food shots, verging on gastroporn. The endorsements are from other celebrities in a magnificent case of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books
15. TAVERN ON THE GREEN (Artisan, 2008; distr. T. Allen, 310 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-357-6, $35 US hard covers) is by Jennifer Oz LeRoy and Kay LeRoy, a daughter and mother who have been involved with the establishment (and with Maxwell's
16. THE EIFFEL TOWER RESTAURANT COOKBOOK; capturing the magic of Paris (Chronicle Books, 2008; distr. Raincoast, 144 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-6047-5, $35 US hard covers) is by Jean Joho with Chandra Ram. Joho is a Beard award winning chef, and proprietor of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in
17. URBAN ITALIAN; simple recipes and true stories from a life in food (
18. COOKING WITH THE SEAFOOD STEWARD (Arnica Publishing, 2009, 198 pages, ISBN 978-0-9801942-5-8, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Gary Rainer Puetz, an award-winning seafood chef running Seafood Steward; he is currently Executive Chef for Pacific Seafood, the largest distributor of seafood to restaurants and hotels in the
19. A PLATTER OF FIGS
20. THE VINTNER'S KITCHEN; celebrating the wines of Oregon (Arnica Publishing, 2009; dist. Canadian Manda Group, 187 pages, ISBN 0-9794771-3-1, $29.95 US hard covers) is by William King, who has been an executive chef in Oregon since 1975. He is currently Vice President of Culinary Development for McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Group, which runs 75 restos. This is part of the Chef's Bounty cookbook series from Arnica. Recipes have been contributed by various wineries and restaurants in
21. A GOOD CATCH; sustainable seafood recipes from Canada's top chefs (Greystone/David Suzuki Foundation, 2008; distr. Douglas & McIntyre, 186 pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-3851, $24.95 soft covers) has been pulled together by Jill Lambert, a writer and editor of food books. There are over 90 recipes here from Canadian cookbook authors and chefs (improbable as it may seem, the very first prep pan-roasted arctic char with lobster mashed potatoes and pinot noir sauce comes from my son-in-law Michael Howell of Tempest Restaurant in
22. THE SALPICON COOKBOOK; contemporary Mexican cuisine (Chronicle Books, 2008; distr. Raincoast, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-6046-8, $40 US hard covers) is by Priscila Satkoff, chef and proprietor of Salpicon Restaurant in
23. MADE IN SPAIN; Spanish dishes for the American kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2008, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-38263-4, $35 US hard covers) is by Beard award-winning chef Jose Andres, the host of PBS's "Made in