77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2000
For those of you unfortunate not to catch Jamie Oliver on the telly - then get the cookbook. If you've caught him on the Telly, then buy the cookbook anyway.
This book is the first of two he's written so far based on his cooking shows. The 'Naked' part of Naked Chef refers to the cooking. His style is to strip down recipes into simple, tasty, quick and easy food. The wonderful thing about the recipes is they are not only easy to follow but they are the basis for as many wonderful variations as you want to make. For instance, he has a basic bread recipe, but lots of great variations.
Once you have the basics it is easy to develop your own dishes too. His presentation is always simple and he has lots of tips for how to make things work. He covers a full range of meals from breakfast through to beverages and deserts so there is something for any time of the day.
I must say I also like Jamie Oliver for his casual style. He is without pretentions but the food that comes out of the kitchen is always fabulous, looks great, tastes gourmet, and is dead impressive. As Jamie says - its Pukka (translation - GREAT!)
121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2002
I bought this book after discovering the television show and reading the enthusiastic reviews. The recipes taste great and leave your kitchen smelling heavenly. The instructions are clear, although occasionally, Jamie neglects to define specific terms such as "sweating" vegetables, and often uses imprecise measurements (i.e. "handfuls"). Being petite, my hand almost certainly holds less than his, but this is a minor point. If you don't use fresh herbs already, Jamie will quickly convert you.
Jamie states at one point that the book represents what he likes to cook. Unfortunately, the recipes do not reflect what I like to cook, and given a second chance, I would not buy this book again. The following information is not meant as criticism, but as a guide to help you determine if these recipes are for you.
You will find few stews, casseroles, or meats cooked in a sauce in this collection. Most of the meats are roasted with herbs, and three-quarters of the dishes use red meat (mostly lamb). The seafood section, while offering a variety of fish, contains only two shellfish recipes. The pasta section emphasizes fresh, homemade noodles with light sauces or filled pastas such as ravioli and tortellini. You will not find any recipes for lasagna, cannelloni, or other baked dishes. The grain chapter consists only of risottos and couscous, and the legume section mostly of seasoned beans or lentils meant as side dishes. The desserts consist primarily of steamed puddings, tarts, and an ice cream-like concoction called semifreddo. Alas, no cookies or cakes!
Some of these dishes are too time-consuming or fattening for me to make on a regular basis, despite their deliciousness. Others are simply not what I prefer to eat--I'll take Coq au Vin over herb-roasted chicken any day. Decide for yourself if this book offers the kind of recipes you want.
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2000
The caption above this review sums it up fairly well. Simply put, this is a terrific addition to your cookbook library. Why? Well, in a few main points, because:
Easy, very accessible recipes. Practicality is the cornerstone of much of Oliver's recipes. You won't find overly difficult or complex recipes here. Very easy-to-do, simple-to-follow approaches. Very easy to find ingredients. At the same time, taste and presentation are not sacrificied either. The recipes are simply delicious. Very important. By comparison, everything that Bittman tried to achieve in the "Minimalist" cookbook is acheived and far surpassed by Oliver.
Thoroughly enjoyable text. Oliver is very funny. His humor and wit come across strikingly well. His stories are personal as well. His writing makes for simply enjoyable reading. Quite a bonus when it comes to cookbooks.
Very nice graphics and layout. The photographs are beautiful, and the design that went into the publishing of this book is top of the line. Very good.
Also a plus, more so for novice chefs (or beginners), is the inclusion of many helpful tips and pointers. Oliver puts in his two-cents worth on what to look for in "staples" or the basics of cooking. Anything from raw ingredients, to cooking utensils. Nice to have and refer to when/should the need strike you.
VERY WORTH having this text in your kitchen. You will enjoy it and value it. You and yours will also reap the benefits of this text by way of some outstanding recipes.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2002
I have cooked all my life. As a girl I loved to help my mum, and then when I married and got four kids there were always someone to cook and bake for. And there still is.
Living in Norway I am used to make most of the food from scratch, and to bake most of the bread and cakes we eat. I also have inherited alot of recipes from my mother, my grandmothers, and (some of the best ones) from my father-in-law.
Of course I thought I knew everything there was to know about making tasty food in my kitchen:-) Then my husband got The Naked Chef for Christmas. I had seen a few of Jamie Olivers television programs and was interested in the book. And after having read a few pages I was hooked.
Jamie Oliver has a very simple, fresh way to cook. There is nothing difficult, no dishes with too much preparations (at least he tells us so). Still the food he is making is so good, so tasty, and looks so elegant. Take his bread recipes for instance. He starts with the same ingredients for all his different sorts of bread, then, "simsalabim", he does a little trick, and you have a totally different bread.
I celebrated my birthday as an Italian party the other night, and his Focaccias and Ciabattas are the most delicious ones I have tasted (exept from the fresh ones bought in Iatky of course).
I still have alot to try from his book, and look forward to great hours in my kitchen, in Jamie's company.
Britt Arnhild Lindland
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2000
Jamie Oliver is, without doubt, one of London's most innovative,
exciting and unpretentious chefs and is on his way to becoming
Britain's favourite cookery book writer, now outselling Delia Smith's
cook books (who has reigned as Britain's favourite cook for 25
years). Jamie first began to cook when he was eight years old in his
parents' pub in the picturesque village of Clavering near Saffron
Walder in north Essex. He trained at Westminster Catering College in
London and became very interested in learning about Italian food. He
first worked at Antonio Carluccio's Neal's Street Restaurant in Covent
Garden, London and stayed for one year before going to Rose Gray's and
Ruth Rogers' River Café restaurant in Hammersmith, west London. The
BBC first noticed Jamie when they were filming a television series of
cooking show at the River Café. After he began to talk about cooking
with the "bare" essentials, they gave him the epithet,
"The Naked Chef" and so a cookery show was born.
Naked Chef is a distillation of workable (primarily) Italian
influenced recipes that can turn any reluctant home cook into a
serious foodie. His method of "stripping down restaurant methods
to the realties of home" has had enormous appeal to everyone
trying to cook good food at home. Jamie's style of writing is
approachable and he communicates in a language that is relaxed and
informed, while constantly guiding the wary cook.
The book is dived
into 13 sections covering herbs and spices, soups, salads, fish, meat,
poultry, vegetables, breads,pulses, pastas, risotto and desserts. His
final chapter is a miscellaneous collection of helpful hints and
recipes such as clarifying stock. He gives a new twist to old
favourites and has updated the old-fashioned English Pease Pudding by
adding garlic, shallots and fresh herbs to the dish. His Perfect Roast
Chicken, which is infused with a variety of fresh herbs, olive oil and
lemon has been reprinted in various British food and women's
magazines. Despite the many variations of risotto, he manages to come
up with new variations on an old theme: his spicy squash risotto with
fresh thyme and mascarpone is a terrific accompaniment to his Skate
Wings with prosciutto, capers and lemon. If you liked the recipes in
The Naked Chef, you will want a copy of The Return of the Naked
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2000
I loved Jaimies quick and simple recipe for fresh pasta, I always thought it would be a nightmare to make it myself, but it is so easy. I also love the way he incorporates fresh herbs, and encourages people to relax about cooking and to get in and give it a go. His book was just released in New Zealand last week, and we picked one up straight away, we are looking forward to trying more of the recipes, especially the roast lamb, yum!. I would recommend this book to anyone, experienced in cooking or just a beginner.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
I keep hearing people complain about this book because his recipes are very simple and don't involve lots of complex preperations. Who cares when they all taste so great? Just like on the excellent food network show, Jamie Oliver is very passionate about food in his writing and also has a exceptionally friendly and interesting style of writing. The book is just entertaining to read. Like I said, the dishes are all great. I haven't found a clunker in the bunch and his mushroom risotto was the best I've ever made. My one problem was his basic pasta dough. I'm not sure what was wrong about it (maybe the bread flour) but it was VERY difficult to kneed. Still, I did eventually triumph after adding lots of oil and eggs and the pasta in the end was delicious. I have lots of more lavish cookbooks than this and I still always look through this one when planning to cook. Really, a great cookbook for anyone who loves good food and good writing. I hear that there are three Naked Chef books out in England...when are we going to get the other two?!?!
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2002
This is a great book for newcomers to cooking:
1. It is written in an easy to understand syntax, no fancy words to describe different cooking techniques are used.
2. Items used in recipes are easy to find at the grocery store or at online stores.
3. All the recipes do not have a long prep time and can be cooked in an hour or so.
This book is a worthwhile investment.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2000
The Naked Chef is a fresh, no-holds-barred approach to cooking. Jamie Oliver is a young, down to earth chef who subscribes to the theory that cooking is fun and that a recipe is only a guideline. This book is for people who love lots of olive oil, garlic, sea salt, fresh herbs, fresh herbs and more fresh herbs. Low fat dieters beware! Read the recipes carefully as they are often so laissez faire that they become confusing; nevertheless, the end result will ALWAYS taste great. As Jamie would say: This book is "Pukka".
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2001
Jaime Oliver's enthusiasm for cooking and passion for making simple tasty dishes is well captured in his first book. It's true that anyone who consistently watches his amusing program will recognize these offerings, but he doesn't seem to be about creating an endless number of complicated dishes. Rather, Oliver establishes some basic dishes that can be adapted, played with, and enjoyed. He's not about providing recipes for you to slog through in your kitchen worrying about how they'll turn out.
I think what's going on here is much more ambitious. Great cookbooks work to help develop an attitude in the kitchen. Here, Oliver's infectiously joyous kitchen demeanor is coupled with a strong self-confidence. You'll have a hard time getting through this book without feeling pangs of desire for the kitchen. After reading through the book (or watching his television program), I generally wind up in the kitchen goofing around with whatever might be on hand.
Even with all of that the book would be a waste if these recipes weren't delicious and easy to make. Oliver delivers a fantastic collection of stripped down recipes that are a great way to teach folks how much fun can be had with food. Get the book, stock up your kitchen, stop eating out so much, and have a little fun.