Asked what they want of a chef's cookbook, most readers would reply, good contemporary recipes I can actually make at home. This seemingly simple requirement can sometimes be lost in the rush to deliver signature dishes that serve to support or further reputation. Fortunately, that isn't the case with Inspired by Ingredients
by Bill Telepan, chef at Manhattan's JUdson Grill. Noted for his fresh, direct cooking, Telepan gives readers 80-plus recipes for a wide range of year-round dishes. Emphasizing the need for really fresh ingredients, and organized by seasonal menus to support that contention, the book offers formulas for traditional fare like pea soup and coconut cake, as well as original dishes including Pan-Fried Trout with Baby Spinach, Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar; Roasted Acorn Squash with Hazelnuts and a Ham and Parsley Salad; Pasta with Mushrooms, Arugula and Peas; and The Chicken, a simple, savory JUdson Grill specialty. Included also is wise counsel like "if it tastes good it'll look fine," plus Thanksgiving and vegetarian menus. Sweets, such as Concord Grape Tart, Pear-Pecan Hamantaschen, and Sticky Fudge Pudding, are equally attractive. The book stands out for its direct and easy-going approach and, above all, its good taste. With photos, ingredient notes, and short biographies of local suppliers, whose provisions help to make Telepan's food as good as it is. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
With this lovely collection of seasonal recipes, it's easy to see why Telepan is one of the East Coast's most acclaimed proponents of market-based cooking. Though Telepan's New York restaurant Judson Grill recently closed, his lushly illustrated book is a fitting testament to the generous spirit and kitchen artistry that have set him apart as a contemporary chef who still puts food before celebrity. Organized by season—including a "year-round" section—the recipes reflect a working chef's emphasis on technique, with their painstaking approach to ingredient prep and "assembly." The only drawback is the crushing amount of information presented: the detailed instructions are interspersed with tributes to local farmers, essays on favorite ingredients, and wine advice. However, food lovers of all experience levels will discover that Telepan's book improves with repeat visits. He is sure to inspire home cooks with menus ranging from spring's Pea Ravioli with Mascarpone Cheese and Basil-Mint Pesto to autumn's Cabbage and Potato Soup with Kielbasa and Sweet Hungarian Paprika. Telepan's cooking reveals his many influences, from French master Alain Chapel to New York guru Alberto Portale, combined with his New Jersey childhood and Hungarian roots. The result is a passionate approach to food that is at once personal and authoritative, making his book one to treasure. Photos.
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