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Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef Hardcover – September 8, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Interested in terrific food? Good. The first thing to do is buy this book. Then clear your calendar for the next 150 days. At a recipe a day, that's how long it will take to go from cover to cover. Your old life? Buy this book and kiss your old life goodbye. You won't regret it.

Most recipes that come out of high-end restaurant kitchens either aren't feasible in a home kitchen with home cooking skills, or they produce the kind of contrived food you wouldn't think to serve--the kind of food you go out to a restaurant to have served to you.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, on the other hand, has moved in the direction of ultimate, minimal simplicity with heightened, surprising flavors as the payoff. His Steak with Red Wine Reduction and Carrot Purée, a popular restaurant dish, simply asks that the cook reduce a bottle of red wine to a single cup, stir in carrot purée, and use this as a sauce on a grilled steak. If that sounds like a gimmick, consider that his Manhattan restaurants--Jean-Georges, Vong, JoJo--receive lavish, stunning reviews. And it's all about the food. It's all about finding flavors and textures in your mouth that have never been there before.

In his life and career, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has moved from the foods of his home in France, across Asia, and finally to New York. When the food media was first beginning to talk about "fusion" cuisine, that all-too-often forced marriage of classic French and Asian cooking techniques and ingredients, Jean-Georges had already blown on by into a realm of his own making.

The results of his insight and energy are in this book. This is easy, elegant, flavorful food: Cold Tomato Soup with Cucumber and Cantaloupe, for example, or Salmon in a Cardamom Broth. You won't cook, eat, or taste anything the same old way once you tuck this book and this food experience under your wing. --Schuyler Ingle

From Library Journal

Vongerichten is one of New York City's hottest chefs right now, with Jo Jo, a popular French bistro; Vong, an elegant Thai-inspired restaurant; Jean Georges, his four-star flagship restaurant; and the recently opened Mercer Kitchen to his credit. His expanding empire is evidence that he's no flash in the pan; in fact, his innovative food has been in demand since he opened his first four-star restaurant, Lafayette, more than ten years ago. Drawing on his classic French training and his experience in restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong?long before Asian fusion cooking became all the rage?Vongerichten creates such unusual and delicious dishes as Sauteed Shrimp with Orange Dust, Chicken with Licorice and Ginger, and Pork in Caramel Sauce. And, unlike the majority of chef's books, this one is entirely approachable; many of the dishes are quite simple (few of the recipes run longer than one page), most do not rely on exotic ingredients, and coauthor Bittman, who tested and retested each recipe with Vongerichten, even offers suggestions for streamlining some of the presentations if need be. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076790155X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767901550
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The first thing you should know about me is that I'm a country boy at heart. I grew up on a farm in Alsace where my mother and grandmother taught me to eat and cook according to the seasons. It was there I fell in love with food--fresh herbs and vegetables and the warmth of our local Franco-German flavors. Though I've been living an urban life since 1973, I'm still most at home in the country.

Since my departure from Alsace, I've lived, trained, and cooked all over France, in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Boston, and New York. Now, I'm rooted in New York, in my little Perry Street neighborhood and in the hills of Westchester County. But I also feel at home in my other restaurants around the world.

Wherever I go, I always want to cook both globally and locally. If you've been to my restaurants, you've probably guessed that I love Asian flavors. My first trip to the open-air market in Bangkok remains one of my most influential culinary experiences, and I've since adopted those herbs and spices as my own. Everything I cook has to have a little heat. (Even at home, my wife, who's Korean-American, keeps our fridge stocked with kimchi.)

As for life outside the kitchen, I enjoy relaxing with my family. In the country, I often go fishing in my little pond and, while the weather's still nice, chop wood for the fireplace. In the city, I take my chefs out to eat after work and catch up with friends when we're cooking together for charity events. The greenmarket is one of my favorite places to stroll. I guess you can see that I love food. It's my passion. It's my life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 79 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
We cook regularly from many different cookbooks and am thoroughly disappointed with this one. A friend has Vongerichten's Simple Cuisine & cooks from it & says it is excellent. He bought this one, too, & tells me that the recipes he's tried so far have not been very good (cauliflower was not at all like in the restaurant & puréed carrots were disliked with the beef). He is an avid (& good) cook. I have made 8 recipes from this book. Sableuse is a very plain cake but was good; Halibut in Papillote was good (very basic but I practically ruined my pans following the directions - do it in the oven not on the stove to save your pans), Savoy Slaw had too much ginger (a matter of taste?), Pork in Caramel was nothing special; Glazed Fall Vegetables tasted good (it has 1/2 lb of bacon so this is not surprising) but is not glazed at all & looks like a plate of mush & really is nothing special; Broiled Chicken with cloves was comletely bland with no flavor of cloves, just chicken & cream (my cloves were new & very aromatic); Lemon Yogurt Sorbet was okay, not great; the Apple Confit was a major disaster (as reported in a magazine which I read after I made it).
I do not believe that many of the recipes were tested properly. Also, the food is really JUST OKAY, NOT GREAT. Certainly not worthy of all the gushing done by Bittman. I will not make any of these recipes again except for the Sableuse. I think a public apology for the Apple Confit is in order, along with the correct recipe!
Before spending $ on this book, check it out from the library & make a few things first.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Jean-Georges has done it again! This and "Simple Cuisine" are the two most-used cookbooks in my large collection. Everyone is always so impressed by the flavor combinations, and refuses to believe that I haven't slaved for days in the kitchen! I can't stop eating the Sticky Rice Wrapped in Banana Leaves (which is great w/o the banana leaves, too, by the way). And the Soup of Red Fruits is a delicious way to end a meal. The crab salad bound in tomate a la francaise is a winner....Come to think of it, every recipe I've ever tried from one of Vongerichten's cookbooks has turned out perfectly. Sure, my plating might not be up to the standards of the color photos, but the flavors are the same as in Vongerichten's restaurants. This book is worth the price just for the recipe for the curry spice blend. Even if you don't think you have the skills for "gourmet cooking" you can use the recipes in this book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef' by chef Jean-George Vongerichten and journalist / cookbook author, Mark Bittman is one of those delightful books which lives up to both expectations set by the author(s) reputation and the goals it sets for itself.

Jean-George Vongerichten is among the very top four or five chefs in the country, sharing the limelight of culinary innovation with Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter and Alfred Portale. He has three high very well received restaurants in New York City and a few scattered about the hinterlands, especially in Las Vegas. Mark Bittman is a food columnist for the New York Times, inheriting a portion of the mantle of Craig Claiborne as one of the leading culinary newspapermen in the country. Bittman is also the author of several well-reviewed cookbooks on his own, primarily the successfully presumptuous `How to Cook Everything' (See my review of this book).

I have to believe that this book was inspired to some extent by the book created out of the collaboration between Patricia Wells and Joel Robuchon, `L'Atelier of Joel Robuchon'. This comparison is heightened by the fact that both Vongerichten and Robuchon did journeyman cooking in the Far East and both continue to have their cuisine influenced by Asian flavors. In spite of several similarities, there are some important differences between these two books. While Robuchon's collaboration deals with his haute cuisine restaurant fare, Vongerichten and Bittman concentrate on dishes from his restaurants that work very well in the home kitchen.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. brooks on November 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jean-Georges has quite an accomplishment with this work--conveying his talent at achieving complex flavors in recipes with a minimum of ingredients and clear instruction. Of the many chef-authored cookbooks I own, this one stands out as one from a talented chef who understands cooking and ingredients. Though works from Gotham City Grill or Jeremiah Tower yield great food, they don't allow you to cook it on a weeknight after work. Jean-George is different. Cornish Game hen with herb-bread stuffing is such a recipe as is the outstanding fresh pea pancake. Both require a minimum of ingredients and preparation and give an abundance of flavor and sophistication. Halibut with sherry sauce sounds pedestrian but, despite its paucity of ingredients, has a sophisticated taste beyond compare. All of the ingredients are readily found in a reasonable supermarket and will not send you to a food encyclopedia. A great book.
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