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Chez Panisse Cooking Paperback – November 22, 1994

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Alice Waters's Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, sparked a movement toward simple, elegant cooking using fresh, seasonal, regional ingredients. In Chez Panisse Cooking, Chef Paul Bertolli collaborates with Waters to adapt many of the restaurant's trademark recipes for home cooking. Look here for fresh, innovative salads, soothing soups, and delightful desserts. Waters's fondness for exotic vegetables and greens may have you searching a little harder in the grocery store, but the results will make your efforts worthwhile.

From Library Journal

Another winner from Chez Panisse, this one by the restaurant's long-time chef. Bertolli's lively, creative recipes serve as starting points for fascinating essays on a diversity of topics, from collecting wild mushrooms in Italy to the science of bread making to the qualities of the best ice cream. Techniques as difficult as making puff pastry are presented clearly enough for even the most inexperienced reader. The recipes themselves will appeal to both the novice and the intrepid, knowledgeable cook. Highly recommended. JS
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (November 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679755357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679755357
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
`Chez Panisse Cooking' by Paul Bertolli, with Alice Waters, is a reminder of the kinds of things we miss in the downpour of fast cooking and low carb cooking books with which we have been showered in the last few years. Like most celebrity cookbooks, this can be seen as a very chatty book, with lots of headnotes and essays on various subjects such as wild mushrooms and risotto techniques. So, if all you want is a simple statement of recipes, you may be much happier with a Rachael Ray book or `1000 Italian Recipes' by Michele Scicolone, although even Scicolone's very heavily recipe oriented book has its share of commentary and notes on regional origins.

Paul Bertolli is Alice Waters' second major chef at Chez Panisse, after Jeremiah Tower went off to create Stars and claim ownership of the invention of `California Cuisine'. While Tower (and Waters) are both heavily influenced by leading English writer on French cuisine, Richard Olney, Bertolli's center is clearly in Italy, with several homages to Provence and other French influences. One important foodie note is that Bertolli cites the Pellegrino Artusi's 100 year old `L'Arte di mangiar bene' (`Art of Eating Well'). I think this is notable because I have taken a quick look at a recent translation of this work and was not very impressed with the material. It may have been a very good book 100 years ago, but I did not immediately see how it stood up to the great wealth of Italian cuisine books we have today in English. But what do I know. I obviously must go back and reconsider my opinion.

What Bertolli attends to better than practically every other cookbook author I can think of (except for the very high-end restaurant chefs such as Thomas Keller and Rick Tramonto) is taste and the nature of his ingredients.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the book that taught me how to cook. To appreciate this book, read the pages on roast chicken and risotto. There are many other cookery books out there that will tell you the components of the dish, but cannot describe the essence. I did not know food before I read this book. I would recommend reading this and Chez Panisse Vegetables. If you can only have 2 cookbooks, these are the two!
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Jonah Frohlich on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was excited to receive this cookbook as a gift from my wife last year. Unfortunately it's a disappointing cookbook that doesn't get much use in my kitchen. There is one basic flaw that makes this book difficult to use, the layout of the recipes.
When you're cooking a large and complex meal, you need enough of an explanation of the cooking procedures to understand what the author wants you to do. Unfortunately, there is simply far too much text in these recipes. Explanations about the cooking procedures is too detailed, it is in need of much editing. While complex French cooking does require a lot of attention to detail, it should be done without the commentary throughout the recipes.
Having said that, there are still a ton of great recipes here. I love their risotto dishes; I made the wild mushroom risotto the other night and it was heavenly. I've also made their homemade pastas (tortellini or ravioli, can't remember which) with pumpkin filling and a browned butter and sage sauce (classic); again excellent. They also have a good treatment of seafood (decent squid recipes), lobster and other white fishes.
You'll find a good repertoire of French food in this book, with a slight California twist (not enough to be classified as fusion). The recipes are generally fairly complex, so I would only recommend it for intermediate or advanced cooks. If you don't mind getting lost in the text of the recipes then you might want to consider this volume. I would strongly recommend that you peruse it first at a local bookstore to see if it's to your liking before making a purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Idlerat on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a serious amateur cook, and I learned as much or more about cooking from this book as from any other. The only competitors in terms of "who did I learn from" are Elizabeth David and Julia Child. The in-depth essays on ingredients and techniques are extremely informative and readable, and the recipes are excellent. I don't find them too detailed, though it is true that this is a book to learn from rather than simply a set of instructions. It's a book for people who want to become better cooks, whatever they cook.

Bertolli has a deep appreciation for the older traditions and the long wisdom of the past when it comes to food, even though he completely understands modern kitchens, markets, and tastes. I love his writing about & recipes for pigeon, the most delicious and (in the U.S.) under-appreciated type of poultry. I have learned so much from this book about things like oil and vinegar, curing, squid...

It does have some editing failures, where information is missing (I've made the bitter apricot preserves many times, e.g., but I'm still not sure what I am supposed to do with the apricot kernels - cook them or just stick them in the jars at the end?) (I usually do the latter, and it is really delicious. Even without the kernels, it's the perfect apricot jam recipe.)

In the touching preface to this book, Paul Bertolli says that he hopes that it will become as well-worn for some readers as his grandmother's cookbook was for him. It is that for me - the pages are falling out! (This is probably also due to the odd binding. Actually, I like the binding, because it lies open easily on the counter, but it is true - the pages are falling out.) It's also full of food stains and my notes in pencil.
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