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Culinary Boot Camp: Five Days of Basic Training atThe Culinary Institute of America Hardcover – May 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764572784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764572784
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 7.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For anyone who's fantasized about attending culinary school—or any curious cook who wants to understand more about the fundamentals of fine cooking—this book offers a peek into an über-condensed, intensive version of Culinary Institute of America training for nonprofessionals. In an era when most bestselling cookbooks eschew traditional techniques in favor of time-saving shortcuts, the book is an anomaly. Shulman (Entertaining Light), an IACP Award–winning cookbook author, takes readers along with her as she attends the CIA's five-day "boot camp" and explains the lessons she learned, from preparing stocks and sauces, to using knives and understanding proper sauté protocol, along with (occasionally overbearing) personal commentary about the experience. Some organizational elements don't make sense—the section on stocks, for example, precedes the recipes for stocks by more than 100 pages—and some recipes are unnecessary (the author criticizes the CIA's cornbread recipe and inserts her own instead). But the text is packed with good insider info, and most of the 75 recipes, such as Spinach Spaetzle with Sapsago Cheese, and Morel and Wild Mushroom Ragoût, are time-honored yet contemporary, rigorous yet approachable. 100 full-color photos. (May 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

For anyone who's fantasized about attending culinary school—or any curious cook who wants to understand more about the fundamentals of fine cooking—this book offers a peek into an über-condensed, intensive version of Culinary Institute of America training for nonprofessionals. In an era when most bestselling cookbooks eschew traditional techniques in favor of time-saving shortcuts, the book is an anomaly. Shulman (Entertaining Light), an IACP Award–winning cookbook author, takes readers along with her as she attends the CIA's five-day "boot camp" and explains the lessons she learned, from preparing stocks and sauces, to using knives and understanding proper sauté protocol, along with (occasionally overbearing) personal commentary about the experience. Some organizational elements don't make sense—the section on stocks, for example, precedes the recipes for stocks by more than 100 pages—and some recipes are unnecessary (the author criticizes the CIA's cornbread recipe and inserts her own instead). But the text is packed with good insider info, and most of the 75 recipes, such as Spinach Spaetzle with Sapsago Cheese, and Morel and Wild Mushroom Ragoût, are time-honored yet contemporary, rigorous yet approachable. 100 full-color photos. (May 6) (Publishers Weekly, March 13, 2006)

More About the Author


For over 30 years I have been writing cookbooks devoted to eating well. A pioneer in vegetarian cooking, I began my career in 1973 at the age of 23. This was long before well-educated people from upper middle class backgrounds fantasized about becoming the next Food Network star or owning a successful restaurant. I was then a student at The University of Texas at Austin. I changed my major every semester, but my passion for cooking and for giving dinner parties was unwavering. I also had an interest in health, and combined the two in my approach to food, drawing upon many of the world's cuisines to create vegetarian dishes that were much better than the standard brown rice fare of the early 1970s. Culturally I was very much a product of my era, but as far as my cooking was concerned, I have always been way ahead of my time.
Once I'd had my epiphany about my calling, I developed a series of vegetarian cooking classes that I taught through the University of Texas Extension, and I opened a private "supper club" in my home. Every Thursday for two years I prepared a sit-down 3-course dinner for 30 people. My cozy "home restaurant" allowed me all the fun and few of the headaches of running a public restaurant, and at the same time gave me a place to experiment and develop a repertoire of dishes to showcase. I also learned to cook for a crowd. Soon I had a vegetarian catering service; I catered everything from breakfasts in bed and dinners for two to wedding receptions and conferences for two hundred.
I had also been, all along, a writer in search of a subject. I knew that I would write a cookbook, and when The Vegetarian Feast came out in 1979, my career had evolved from cook/caterer to food writer and cookbook author. The Vegetarian Feast won a 1979 Tastemaker Award (a precursor of the prestigious James Beard Awards) for Best Book, Health and Special Diets category, and remains in print.
I was never doctrinaire about vegetarian cooking; I just felt that I'd had my quota of meat by the time I reached the age of 21. I admired all good cooks, especially Julia Child, with whom I corresponded. In my first letter to her, a fan letter dated September 2, 1976 in which I described my cooking classes and my supper club, my catering service and the book I was trying to get published, I told her I was "trying to shed a new light on vegetarianism, to present it as an unmysterious, classical, and memorable cuisine. The art of cooking with an emphasis on nutrition as well as flavor is my interest, and because I am a vegetarian my cuisine is a meatless one."
Two years after the publication of The Vegetarian Feast I moved to Paris, where I continued to write cookbooks and articles, revived my Supper Club, and became a much better cook. During the twelve years I lived in France I traveled extensively in the Mediterranean to research its many cuisines. My book Mediterranean Light was published in 1989, just as the benefits of the Mediterranean diet were coming to light in the United States. The region continues to be my richest source of culinary inspiration.
To date, I have 27 cookbooks to my name. My work has been of a piece; not all of my books are vegetarian, but they all have a healthy focus. Several of my books have been nominated for cookbook awards and three have won them. In addition to the 1979 Tastemaker Award for The Vegetarian Feast, I've received the following nominations and prizes for my work:
*2001: International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), The Best Vegetarian Recipes, Nominee, Single Subject category
*1995 James Beard Awards, Great Breads, Nominee, Bread and Pastry category
*1994 Bertolli Olive Oil Award, Provençal Light, First Prize, Health and Special Diets category, Julia Child Awards
*1991 International Association of Culinary Professionals, Entertaining Light, First Prize, Health and Diet category
*1991 James Beard Awards, Entertaining Light, Nominee, Entertaining category
*1989 Tastemaker, Mediterranean Light, Nominee, Health and Special Diets category
*1988 Tastemaker, Supper Club chez Martha Rose, Nominee, Entertaining category

My cooking continues to evolve, as I hone and simplify my recipes to make them accessible to a wide range of cooks. I feel that I have played a role in improving the eating habits of many Americans, particularly since I began writing a daily recipe feature called Recipes for Health for the health section of The New York Times on the Web, in 2008. Its purpose is to empower people to cook healthy meals every day by giving them straightforward, delicious recipes. Each week's column is themed around a fresh ingredient from the market, a pantry item or a type of dish, with a new recipe posted every day. The reader response has been enthusiastic; my recipes regularly appear in the "10 Most Emailed" list on the health page. It has been extremely satisfying to know that I am reaching so many people and having an impact on their cooking.

Customer Reviews

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I love my Culinary Boot Camp book - I love to cook and have learned a number of tips from this book.
Judy Azzopardi
The concept that recipes, by their very nature, simply never tell you everything you need to know about preparing a particular dish, runs through the whole book.
B. Marold
Additional recipes are also included, which allow you to practice the skills/techniques introduced in the book.
J. K. Weaver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Amalfi Coast Girl on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A passionate home cook that has been honing her cooking skills for the last 25 years, concentrating on Italian cooking for the last 10 years, writes this review. My favorite cookbooks are "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute and "Culinary Artistry". With more than 500 cookbooks in my collection I am usually disappointed in my recent cookbook acquisitions. I purchased this book to see what the Culinary boot camp at the CIA was all about since I was thinking of taking the course. I am glad that I bought the book and didn't spend thousands on the course.

If you are considering the boot camp at Hyde Park the book is informative. However, the book did not encourage me to take the course, it had the opposite effect. The recipes and tips that the author covers were nothing. I felt as though I was reading the experience from the perspective of a kitchen novice. The techniques and methods that are discussed are basic kitchen ideas used by skills home cooks everyday. If you own any good cookbook you will know or have read about all the techniques before. If you are looking for an in depth discussion on cooking techniques buy "The Professional Chef" by the CIA instead. It is a much better book.

This book is subdivided as follows:

Day One: Into the Kitchen: Stocks and Sauces

Day Two: Soup Production and Frying Techniques

Day Three: Dry Heat Cooking Methods

Day Four: Moist Heat Cooking Methods

Day Five: The Final Exam

Mise en Place and Knife Skills

Additional Recipes

The book is 242 pages in length and the "additional recipe" section begins on page 140. The recipes that are included are okay, but nothing to rave about.
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71 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Cookbooks, it seems, has taken a huge chunk of the publishing marketplace. Nearly every day I hear of a new 'hot' chef, or cookbook or trend. Nowadays, it seems that there is great delight in taking ordinary folks, and throwing them into situations where high stress, competition and trying to cram everything possible in a short amount of time and then showing it all happening on either the written page or the television screen for the viewer's delectation.

Most of the time, it's pretty embarassing to watch or read about. Sadly, this exploration of what it's like to be a student at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York -- when a chef refers to the CIA, this is what he's talking about -- is more of the author's opinions and incessantly rubbing the nose of the reader in to how she would or not do it. After a while, it gets very annoying, and more than a little smug -- personally, I didn't care how she would do something different, I wanted to learn more about the techniques and tips to be able to turn out a good meal in my own kitchen. Along with about fifteen other students, Martha Rose Shulman -- evidently a cookbook author herself -- entered what is called the CIA's "Boot Camp" -- a five day course that hits the high points of what is usually a six month course at the Institute.

Shulman starts the book off with an introduction, and a mention that she's done this before at the CIA. Then there are five chapters that cover each day, with a different style of cooking covered in each one. Along with an illustrated reacipe and a two page spread showing how to do the technique and putting the dish together.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
`Culinary Boot Camp' by The Culinary Institute of America and culinary writer, Martha Rose Shulman is a must buy and must read for anyone who is starting out with cooking as a hobby, avocation, or simply as a necessary chore they take seriously.

Unlike Michael Ruhlman's journalistic memoir, `The Making of a Chef', which covers the full two year associates degree program, this textbook with stories covers only the five day crash course given to both culinary professionals and hobbyist cooks. It is also much less journalistic and much more about the lessons learned. It has some sense of being a `Gourmet Cooking Techniques for Dummies', in that it is a sized down presentation of a lot of material in the `big book', `The New Professional Chef'.

Martha Rose Shulman, the voice in the foreground, took the `boot camp' course twice, from two different instructors. She supplies the narrative of how the classes were conducted. The CIA provides the sidebars and recipes.

The value of this book is in inverse proportion to your current state of culinary sophistication. If you have done nothing more than cook from simple recipes, without ever making your own sauces, stocks, or soups, and if you own no good cooking texts, such as `The New Making of a Cook', this book will be a revelation. Here, the high priests of French cuisine training in the United States are essentially teaching techniques to wean you away from depending on printed recipes. This is an interesting and attractive premise when put out by good popular cookbook authors such as Pam Anderson or even by English home cooking guru Nigel Slater.
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