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Top Chef The Cookbook Hardcover – March 20, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st Printing edition (March 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811865789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811864305
  • ASIN: 0811864308
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Part fanzine, part cookbook, this volume will appeal to the anyone who tunes into Top Chef each week to see contestants out-cook each other, using vending-machine ingredients to make appetizers or preparing lunch for the cast of a telenovela. Replete with dozens of glamour shots of contestant/contributors and sweetly old-fashioned profiles of the judges (host Padma Lakshmi is "a no-nonsense kind of gal"), this volume feels like a guide to a strange, food-obsessed cult. The author sighs over pretty, eccentric Betty Fraser, "it was always hard to know what to make of Betty," and notes that season two winner Ilan Hall was "good at falling into the kind of cliquish drama you might find in a high school cafeteria." The recipes themselves, taken directly from the show's "quickfire" and elimination challenges, are dauntingly involved, much more suited to cooking competitions than the average home kitchen: they never use one ingredient when three will do, nor do they shy away from expensive options like foie gras, truffles and abalone. Even simple-sounding dishes like Chiles Rellenos are accented with complicated sauces and garnishes. It's hard to imagine anyone consulting this book to whip up dinner, but it's easy to see how a Top Chef obsessive would get much satisfaction out of it, if not necessarily a full stomach.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bravo’s hit culinary reality show now has a companion cookbook, though to be fair it is as much of a fan book as it is a recipe book. Sure, there’s a generous array of recipes, ranging from the simple (Sara M.’s Eggs in a Hole) to the somewhat more involved season-three winner Hung’s Sous-Vide Duck with Truffle-Scented Broth), and fans will get a kick out of seeing just what all goes into these winning creations and then trying to match their culinary skills to the task. At the same time, nonfans of the show will likely find a heavy amount of distracting detritus in these pages. Episode guides, personality profiles, and other cultish reminiscences all reserve this handsome, high-quality book pretty much exclusively to the large number of viewers already under the spell of the show. Perhaps most appealing for such fans will be the introductory essays describing the behind-the-scenes reality of the reality show, how the contest was dreamed up, and such priceless revelations as the show almost making it to air with the name Grillers in the Mist. --Ian Chipman

Customer Reviews

Gorgeous photos, great recipes.
D. Ury
And while some of the recipes are quite challenging and the ingredients may be unavailable to a lot of amateurs, it's still a fascinating read.
Margaret
The quality of the book was good, only a couple slight marks on the cover.
L. Cooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is two books in one. On one hand it's a collection of gourmet recipes, with lush color photographs and handy preparation times. I would have appreciated nutritional and calorie information with the dishes, but the instructions are thorough and easy to follow.

On the other hand, this is a fan-fest for "Top Chef" addicts (like me). Whole sections are devoted to each of the show's three seasons. Each starts with an Elimination Bracket chart, which shows you all the contestants, which challenges they won, and in which episode they were eliminated. An Episode Guide describes the Quickfire competition and the Elimination Challenge. Next are many pages devoted to the contestants, with photos, bios, quotes from judges, an interview and statistics.

Bonus tidbits include bios of each Top Chef judge and photos of the kitchens used in the shows.

I especially liked chef Anthony Bourdain's Insult-O-Meter page, with samplings of the cranky judge's comments. About Sara Mair's seared salmon: "Salmon is usually a very forgiving fish. Not this one. Mine was beyond overcooked. We're talking cat-food territory."

Underneath the canvas dust jacket is a silver cover with the same "Top Chef The Cookbook" logo.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AT on June 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge Top Chef fan and was super excited to get this book. So far, I've made Harold's Duo of Beef and Dave's Truffle Mac and Cheese with Cognac cream (both from season one). Both turned about amazingly. There are very minor omissions in some of the recipes (i.e., the recipe tells you to bake the mac and cheese for ~20 mins, but omits any mention of temperature) which are easy enough for the more experienced home cook to figure out. I probably wouldn't suggest this to a newer cook, as some of the recipes are a bit intimidating, but totally worth the effort.

In summary:
Pros - delicious recipes, plenty of pictures of finished product
Cons - some recipes lack detail and may be a little difficult for a beginning chef and there is a LOT of space wasted talking about the different seasons and recapping every. single. challenge. (elimination and quickfire)

At the end of the day, the quality of the recipes makes up for any other deficiencies. I'd rate this 4.5 stars overall.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By W. Zollo VINE VOICE on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While the recipes are a major plus, original and at times most certainly not to be found anywhere else...this in itself is in keeping with the spirit of Top Chef, what truly adds the flavor and spice to the untraditional cookbook is the sidebars and stories centered around the series itself.
Even better it doesn't lean toward being mean. It is lightly gossipy while still maintaining its dignity.

Featuring some of the favorite winning recipes:
Elia's Breakfast, lunch, and dinner waffles
C.J's Crepes
Mia's Crabcake Benedict
Hung's Tuna Tartare
Lea Anne's Deep Fried Oysters
Dale's Seared Elk Loin
Tre's Bacon wrapped Shrimp
Harold's Duo of Beef

Too name a few.

It also features some major info/updates on the past contestants which is in my opinion the best part of the book...and short Bio Bites on just about every participant and past judges along with major info on Tom, Gail and Padma.

A must have for Top Chef addict and for those looking for some out of the box recipes you certainly can't go wrong.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By RedSoxFan on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There's two different reasons to buy this book and I'll review it two ways for both types of people!

IF YOU'RE A CHEF: I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book because I'm not a gourmet cook by any stretch. However, I love to cook and this book has a huge variety of recipes--just like the show! I was very pleased to see that nearly every page is in full color and lots of the recipes are pictured in detail. Although parts of the book are arranged by season, the table of contents also lists things by meal (breakfast, small plates, fish, dessert, vegetarian, etc.) I found the book easy to navigate with a clearly deliniated table of contents and a great index list of ingredients. That way, if you have a certain item in mind (peppers, for example) you can find things from all different seasons. Some of the recipes do seem complex, but the instructions read as "easy enough" and I think everything is well explained.

IF YOU'RE A "TOP CHEF" FAN: You will DEFINITELY love this book, I say that without hesitation. And what a bargain! Usually "full color" like this goes for $35 or more (like the Jamie Oliver books and the Rachael Ray or Giada, three others that I love). For about $20, this book is great! It's AWESOME if you are a fan... it has pictures of cast members, summary pages of the seasons, and recipes from the "Quickfire" challenges as well. GREAT eye candy (admit it, Sam from season three is ALL THAT and Padma is gorgeous). There are also notable quotes from multiple seasons at the bottom of pages and on the sidebars (who could forget Dave's famous, "I'm not your..." quote!). I'm a huge fan of the show and the book is great... it's about time they came out with a cookbook! I can't wait to see what happens on season four!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By vgray on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is LOADED with color, photos, behind-the-scenes stuff, and all those recipes you wondered about. Dale's lamb chops from the finale? They're here! The photos of all the participants are really well done. The food looks great too. I will be spending many happy hours with this book. There's lots to read. Congrats to BRAVO, the book reflects all the excitement of the show.
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