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Susur: A Culinary Life Hardcover – October 1, 2005


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The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo
The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Critics are falling all over themselves to come up with new superlatives to describe the intenseflavors and unique combinations turning up on his plate night after night. -Gourmet "Martial arts cooking from a kung fu master-that'¬?s the only way to describe Susur'¬?s cuisine."-Jean-Georges Vongerichten"Filled with inspiring ideas as well as gorgeous food, Susur: A Culinary Life reveals the heart of a great chef'¬?s creative journey."-Nancy Oakes, Boulevard"Susur'¬?s food combines elements of art, science, and music. This book is poetic, truly something bursting from his formidable soul."-Charlie Trotter"I admire Susur'¬?s passion in creating delicacies that are a feast for both the eyes and the palate."-Drew Nieporent"Toronto'¬?s most adventurous chef."-Saveur

From the Publisher

A comprehensive two-volume book about Toronto’s most innovative chef, Susur Lee, including a detailed biography and more than 90 recipes.

Gorgeous, unique packaging includes two books sewn at the spine, with magnets bound into the covers to unite the individual volumes.

Susur’s signature dishes include Five-Spice Foie Gras with Roast Suckling Pig and Onion Pancake; and Kungpao-Spiced Scallops with Haricots Verts – Hijiki Salad and Prosciutto Chiffonade.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580087302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580087308
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Susur A Culinary Life' by Hong Kong / Toronto Chef Susur Lee and a number of co-authors may be the apotheosis of the attractively pretentious tabletop culinary book. It is at least as attractive as Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's latest book and even has a few things of value over `Nobu Now'. It's first pretension is the fact that it is bound as two books, joined at the spine, as if it were two Siamese twins. Since it is impossible to separate the two books without ruining the value of this $50 list volume, and yet you simply cannot use the recipes in the second half without the pantry recipes in the first, this dual binding is purely for show, contributing to little except the cost of the book and the inconvenience of using the two parts of the book together. Not only that, the index for both `volumes' is in the second half, so the first half looses much of its value with it's index detached.

Reading this book has strong similarities to watching the Food Network show, `Iron Chef America'. Unless you happened to be a chef with major pretensions to serious `haute cuisine', you would simply never want to reproduce the recipes you see being conjured up by these very seriously talented and experienced chefs. Why in the world would you ever, for example, want to obtain a compressed air pump to assist in making Peking duck within an hour or screw a piece of fatback to a cedar plank to infuse it with the cedar taste? Susur Lee even presents the same persona as `Iron Chef' star Masaharu Morimoto, although I suspect Susur Lee is one or two cuts above Morimoto in overall culinary creativity.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By WhiteGoldWielder on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given the acidity of previous reviews, let me start with some background on myself: I am an American not resident in Canada; I am a non-professional chef -- I cook for myself, my family and my friends. I love food, both from the philosophy that one can learn the history of a country or region by learning about its cuisine and from the perspective that I truly believe we are what we eat ... and the miserable record of American health and longevity is directly due to the poor quality of what we consume.

I first saw Susur on Food Network's "Chef du Jour", where well-regarded chefs would do a single 30 minute program on a topic of their choice. That was at least 8 years ago. I think he may have been on one or two "Ready, Set, Cook" programs, but I'm not certain. He certainly didn't push to become a "celebrity chef", at least in the TV sense. He did become a celebrity in the culinary world: becoming one of Food & Wine's "10 Best Chefs in the World" is not a self-serving proclamation -- it is an evaluation by those who can and do taste the food of all the best and near-best.

I've had the good fortune to have an expense account and a business that required me to take clients to dinner, so I've had the privilege of eating at many of the finest restaurants in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. My personal opinion is that Susur belongs among the finest and if in Toronto, it would be my first choice of a dining location -- yes, even if I were paying the bill myself -- some meals are worth every penny of the cost.

I've eaten at his restaurant in Toronto many times, on business trips. The food has always been spectacular, along with the service, along with the description of the philosophy behind each dish.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bigvivec on April 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pretty coffee table book...don't buy for the recipes unless you are a professional. I am a chef and have been at several for and five star establishments. I had the pleasure a few years ago to do a banquet with Susur and he is the real deal. Will his techniques translate to the amateur cook looking to learn from his book? No. These are professional recipes designed to be executed by a top class brigade with years of technique and time to prepare the needed mis en place. But as a professional, the way he approaches food as well as the culinary foundation that he has built for himself is unique and will be appreciated by those in the know. What isn't pretentious about a $50 coffee table book? This book gives exposure to a unique and talented chef who is grounded in solid technique and is able to translate that into well presented and balanced dishes that are not silly fusion. Definetly worth a look.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bippy the Beardless on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The two books bound together as one is perhaps pretentious, but it serves to separate the ideas and philosophies from the recipes. They both give a unique view into what makes one of the most inventive chefs alive, tick. The recipes are complex and may not be recreated by many readers, but the ideas within them including many novel flavor combinations will likely be a source of inspiration to any keen amateur chef who reads this book.
I'll agree with other reviewers that this book is indeed pretentious. But so is having an old copy of Larouse Gastronomique, or just about every 'top restaurant' book out there. Shame on anyone in Toronto who hasn't made the trip to Susur's restaurant, it isn't insanely expensive, and I managed to get in mid week without having booked. Very few people will ever be able/willing to make any of the recipes in this book for themseleves, but all should be able to gain some inspiration from the ideas and flavor combinations presented in these pages.
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