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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skeptical but Surprised
When I got the cookbook as a Christmas present I was a little skeptical. Okay maybe alot skeptical. The recipes looked a little too vague; not enough precise measurements; "add a glass of wine" (big glass? small glass? 'what's up with that?')Quite frankly, it made me nervous. Cookbooks aren't supposed to be like that.
But I gave the recipes a whirl and lo...
Published on July 6, 2004 by Jim Domanski

versus
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Jamie but not this cookbook
I am a huge fan of Jamie Oliver's television shows, books, and "easy peasy" approach to cooking/life.
Naturally, then, I was thrilled to read at Amazon that Jamie published a cookbook to accompany "Jamie's Kitchen" (a televised and laudable effort to train young and unemployed Londoners in both the culinary arts and restaurant business).
Unfortunately, I was...
Published on November 11, 2003 by Elizabeth N.


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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skeptical but Surprised, July 6, 2004
By 
Jim Domanski (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
When I got the cookbook as a Christmas present I was a little skeptical. Okay maybe alot skeptical. The recipes looked a little too vague; not enough precise measurements; "add a glass of wine" (big glass? small glass? 'what's up with that?')Quite frankly, it made me nervous. Cookbooks aren't supposed to be like that.
But I gave the recipes a whirl and lo and behold, they turned out! The recipes were different yet familar. A nice twist on things (sorry, no pun intended). Jamie creates recipes with layers of flavor and texture; recipes with color and style. And what is more, they were relatively simple to make. I've received rave reviews from friends and family.
But the real surprise and joy was that Jamie's approximate portions and measurements allowed me to become more of my own chef, so to speak. I guess I always felt compelled to stick to the rigidity of a receipe. What I discovered is that I was more or less forced to I play with the amounts and I did not feel that I was somehow making a mistake when doing so. It was okay to toy with this ingredient or that. This gave me confidence to explore variations. In short, it made cooking even more fun.
This is how I think the great chefs really cook: they have a game plan but they have intuition, gut instinct. When you watch the great chefs on TV rarely do you see them haul out a measuring spoon or a cup. They go by eye, by experience and by gut. And I think this is what Jamie Oliver's book has done for the reader.
Buy it, experiment with it, have fun with it.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfyingly Full Course Meal of a Book, July 12, 2005
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This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
Not being a television observer of cooking shows or even one who keeps up with 'celebrity chefs', JAMIE'S KITCHEN came as a fresh surprise as a book that just happens to have excellent, reproducible recipes for some fine dishes! Jamie Oliver deserves his fame, if this book is any indication. Young and spunky, with a real talent for witty explanations that keep a recipe book palatable (!), Oliver offers not only some well-chosen delicious treats not found in other cookbooks, outlined in the most easy to read and follow fashion, but he also pays attention to other details.

Like marketing, for example. In a very short space wholly free of pretension, Oliver supplies tips on how to buy foods, when to buy them, when to tell if the produce is the best (and tips on keeping the grocer informed as to the occasional lapse in quality control!), informing the reader that fresh fish should never smell fishy and should have clear eyes , smooth scales etc. Little bits of info like this make the reader bond with the chef, ready to accept his advice on preparing apparently simple yet unique and elegant fare.

There are so many cookbooks out on the shelves these days, but few match the quality of photography of the chef at work, the dishes prepared, the lightness of the written words, and the honest and informed commentary that this book does. Makes you want to read his other books - like getting to know a new friend better! Grady Harp, July 05
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and simply fabulous food, October 1, 2003
By 
Lesley West (St James, Western Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
Jamie Oliver is quite rightly famous for liking his food unpretentious, fresh and delicious. he is quite quirky and funny as well, and this good humour shines through his recipes.
There are all sorts of delicious things in here, including a fabulous basic bread recipe that can be manipulated into all sorts of good things, but the beauty of the recipes are that they can all be whipped up in fairly short periods of time if friends and family drop in. There are the usual quick and easies, as well as a number of far more spectacular dishes.
If you have a reasonaly well stocked pantry and this cook book, who knows what miracles can happen in the kitchen. This is not just a book for people who love cooking, it is also for people who like the eating as well!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beuatiful, but not practical, September 23, 2004
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
Cooking should be fun, but it should also be doable. My impression of this cookbook is that it is designed primarily to be used as a coffee table book. It is full of beautiful color photos of both food presentations and steps in the production process. The book features approximately 100 recipes James has gleaned from his school/restaurant.

James includes recipes from the following areas: salads, cooking without heat, poaching, steaming, frying, roasting, broiling, grilling, and baking. The best part of this book is the first chapter, which covers insightful information on acquiring the basic essential tools and equipment to become a chef, and shopping tips. The recipes however, appear highly advanced and rather impractical for most amateur chefs. For example, his recipes generally require items such as: venison loin, juniper berries, chervil, crème fraiche, pancetta, tahina, sour gherkins, palm sugar, and squid, to name just a few of the exotic foods in these recipes. If you have access to these items, great.

The book is made of glossed paper, which holds up well to spills and working in a kitchen environment. Also, the pages hold open pretty well to facilitate following a recipe while your hands are busy. Overall, this book would make a beautiful coffee table book, but lacks the practicality for my taste and use.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant Cookbook, April 16, 2004
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
Jamie's Kitchen is a big, beautiful, vibrant cookbook with some very interesting recipes. I have not yet seen any of his other cookbooks, but I found the approach this one took rather refreshing. Unless absolutely necessary, measurements in this one are more general (i.e. handful of breadcrumbs), which gives the chef a little more freedom. He also adds a couple of suggestions at the end of each recipe where the chef can tweak it a bit and get something a bit different. He includes some step by step instructions for things, such as making pasta. The recipes in this book are, for the most part, an undertaking, simply not something you are going to whip together for your family of four after a long day at work or with the kids. The recipes here are more weekend entertaining--but they are lovely and imaginative.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diverges from the formula, October 6, 2003
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
This book was released last year in the UK and I got it as a present for Christmas. So I've had several months to digest this one!
Fans of the telivision series "Jamies Kitchen" be warned, this is purely a cook book and not a guide to the series. For those who don't know, the TV series was a documentary on Jamie Oliver starting a restaurant with 15 youngsters who he trains to be chefs. While it was very entertaining, it was in no way a cookery program. Having said that, some of the recipes from the documentary do feature in the book - the pan fried Salman with vegetables being one example.
Fans of Jamie's previous books be warned also. This book marks a departure from the formula that has made Jamie Oliver a household name here. Jamie has gone up market! Gone are the "Toad in the hole" sytle recipes, and in are more recipes you would expect to see in a restaurant. Coupled with far more sumptuous photos, this may become an excellent coffee table piece for the less adventurous cook or a great source of inspiration for those with more daring!
Nice one Geezer!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jamie's kitchen, December 20, 2003
By 
Susan McGrail (W. Cape May, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
I have over 300 cookbooks and this is a welcome addition. I love his simplicity and refusal to give in to specific measurements. I think the recipes are simple and easy to use. I recommend this book to a beginner as well as an experienced chef.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jamie rocks!!, December 14, 2006
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This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
I love Jamie's books! I love all the pictures, the great simple recipes, and insight into Jamie's world.

This book was written during the time when he started training young unemployed kids to become chefs. The chapters include some great unusual salads, cooking without heat, poaching, cooking in pouches, stewing, frying, roasting, grilling, and baking.

There is only one recipe per page, and include a beautiful picture of the prepared product. In between the recipes there are tons of pictures of Jamie, for all the fans out there.:)

These books are definitely a writing from the heart.
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42 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Culinary Inspiration, October 23, 2003
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
It is difficult to evaluate this book without opinions' being colored by seeing Jamie Oliver's experiences in nurturing fifteen (15) young needful men and women to become professional cooks and, in the process, succeeding in creating London's most highly sought dining venue. I confess that this background makes it almost impossible for me to give the book less than five (5) stars, although I will cite some weaknesses in a generally very worthy book.
`jamie's kitchen' is primarily a celebrity chef cookbook where the celebrity is a practicing chef like Mario Batali and Bobby Flay, however there is no distinct connection between the recipes in the book and Jamie's restaurant `15'. Rather, I've seen many dishes done on his Food Network show `Oliver's Twist' appearing in this book. There is also no systematic connection between the contents of the book and the Food Network special of the same name; however, there are some recipes and demonstrations of techniques, which appear in both. Note that unlike Jamie's various TV presentations, all units are in Imperial units (pounds and ounces and Fahrenheit and so on) however one does have to translate teaspoon from the term dessert spoon.
Overlaid on the typical celebrity chef content is a outline of a cooking course covering common cooking methods such as salads, `cooking without heat', poaching, boiling, steaming, en papillote, stewing, braising, frying (pan and deep), roasting (pot and pan), broiling, grilling, and baking (bread and pastry). As an outline and presentation of exemplars for major culinary methods, this book is very good; however, it should not be accepted as a complete cooking textbook. (I would not rule out a talented instructor's using this book as a supplementary text, but it is still not in the same league as excellent texts by Madeline Kamen, Anne Willen, or the Culinary Institute of America). Another clue that this is CANNOT be taken as a textbook is Jamie's aversion to exact measurements. A text could never be as imprecise. That said, I give high marks to the photographic demonstrations of several basic cooking techniques such as filleting a flatfish, making a basic bread dough, chopping and slicing, pasta making, and blanching tomatoes.
Thus, the primary value of the book lies with the quality of the recipes and the usefulness of the recipes to the buyer. I believe the overall quality of the recipes is very high, and, personally, I found the choice of recipes to be very, very good. There is the expected influence of Italian cuisine in many of the recipes; however, there are also distinctly oriental overtones in many of the recipes, especially in the salads. I was especially delighted to find a relatively simple recipe for Chinese steamed pork dumplings. The recipe for this dish presented by a Martha Stewart guest took three pages (I am not so naïve to believe that the results of the simple version will have all the virtues of the more truly ethnic recipe, but the point is that the simpler essay on a classic preparation will enhance your appreciation of the more complicated, more ethnicly accurate presentation.) The section on bread is basically an introduction to Italian breadmaking and an excellent introduction to breadmaking in general. The basic dough is simpler, for example, than many common white bread recipes with the added virtue of not requiring a stand mixer to obtain a decent result.
My take on celebrity chef cookbooks is that their primary object is to enhance one's enjoyment of cooking by breathing life into old recipes and presenting an interesting range of new options to the reader. A perfect example of this object for me was the description of poaching beef fillets in red wine. Up to now, cooking expensive beef in a water-based medium seemed to border on sinful. Jamie makes it all make sense at the cost of a decent bottle of red wine. This is also the perfect illustration of the fact that celebrity chef cookbooks are not about cheap or fast or easy. Jamie give the game away on `easy' when he demonstrates a technique which he confesses took him several days to master.
Jamie's talent reminds me of a description of Robin Williams. Translated from comedy to the culinary, I find Tyler Florence (for example) to be a very talented chef, but Jamie Oliver is a force of nature. His enthusiasm for the skillful preparation of good ingredients into masterful food is communicated as effectively from the printed page as it is from the TV screen. This communication is assisted by the excellent photography framed in the oversize dimensions of the volume.
While the book is less than perfect, few of the blemishes warrant a pass on this volume if you are looking for the rewards that such celebrity chef cookbooks have to offer. A major consideration in buying this book is it's cost. Luckily, I am certain that the book will be available at a discount from practically any outlet. The concern about the cost is inflated by the fact that the size of the book hides the fact that more than a few large pages are taken up by photographs of people, mostly Jamie, in artsy poses against gritty backdrops. These enhance the coffee table character of the book. A little game one may try is to find the picture of Jamie which contains a picture of Jamie and Jools. Very droll. The positive aspect of the photography has already been noted above. Not every culinary book with full color photos of food does as well as this one in using them to complement the words in the recipes. This is a must for Jamie Oliver fans.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Jamie but not this cookbook, November 11, 2003
This review is from: Jamie's Kitchen (Hardcover)
I am a huge fan of Jamie Oliver's television shows, books, and "easy peasy" approach to cooking/life.
Naturally, then, I was thrilled to read at Amazon that Jamie published a cookbook to accompany "Jamie's Kitchen" (a televised and laudable effort to train young and unemployed Londoners in both the culinary arts and restaurant business).
Unfortunately, I was quite unexpectedly disappointed.
The failure, I think, lies with an expectation set by the cookbook's sub-title..."A Cooking Course for Everyone".
Jamie tells us up front that this isn't meant to be an overly technical culinary textbook, but I wondered if we couldn't have been enriched by a cooking term or technique more complex than "to boil".
At the other extreme, Jamie's recipes lack the inspired (refreshing and yet warmly hearty) attributes we've come to love, and seemed rather inaccessible to the sort of reader who may need or want a "cooking course".
Although I enjoyed the kitchen tools list and invitation to use fresh herbs, these are nothing new; overall, I was struck by the irony that this cookbook, having its genesis in Jamie's openhearted effort to help others, seems to lack just that...heart.
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Jamie's Kitchen
Jamie's Kitchen by Jamie Oliver (Hardcover - October 8, 2003)
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