Customer Reviews

44
3.9 out of 5 stars
VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:$26.15 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The Voltaggio brothers are the next generation of fine dining standard bearers. This book has a fascinating intellectual pedigree- modernist cuisine, the farm to table movement, the 'new American' cooking, all paired with a global palate of flavors rooted in classic french technique. Nori and truffle Brioche made with goats milk, for example, or dishes relying on foraged morels and asparagus. It is a wonder and a joy.

Its useful to put this book in a bit of historical context. The last twenty years or so have seen a revolution in the American culinary world. Arguably, the revolution began with Wolfgang Puck. Not only did he create many dishes that have since become cliches (many of them combining European and Asian flavors), he became synonymous with the products he sold. Fine dining meant more than French Haute Cuisine, and the chef became an inspirational force in American cooking. Volt ink is a product of a generation of chefs who grew up under the intellectual influence of chefs like Thomas Keller, Charlie Palmer, Tom Colicchio and Wylie Dufrense. The techniques are both modernist and traditional. The ingredients are selected with an intense focus on seasonality and quality, with all excess stripped away. The dishes combine global influences in terms of flavor pairings, ingredients and aesthetics. Its far, far too early to say if this book will have the sort of impact the French Laundry Cookbook did (and does), but at the very least it is a worthy companion to that lofty work.

A few caveats. Unless you own an immersion circulator, a vacuum sealer, vacuum bags, nitrous foamers, dehydrators and a few other non-standard pieces of cookware (and I personally do not, though I understand they are becoming more common)this book is roughly as practical for the home chef as a chocolate stockpot. I have only seen a spare handful of things I thought were possible to cook at home. The joy of this book is the way it organizes its self around groups of ingredients that go well together. This arrangement provides a great deal of inspiration, even for people with no intention of ever attempting the dishes shown. Another cookbook that does this, and one I would cheerfully recommend for anyone interested in cooking, is Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio.)

A last word on the photography. The pictures in this book are stunning. The term food porn gets thrown around a lot. This book moves transforms the term from irritating to accurate. Volt ink is a staggeringly beautiful book.

I strongly recommend Volt ink, not as a book of recipes, but as a source of inspiration, excitement, and a wonderful insight into the future of American cuisine.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Love these guys they are awesome ,just haven't found anything I can make. Great book, cool,Stories. The ingredients are too obscure and the tools and techniques are for the advanced. If you live in a bigger city and have the time this is a good advanced cookbook.
77 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw the "Volt, Ink." Cookbook at a Williams-Sonoma store, I turned to the index and looked for terms such as "sous vide," "vacuum sealers," or even "liquid nitrogen" (one can always hope). Not finding any of those terms, I almost passed it by -- after all, I have the monumental Modernist Cuisine set, Heston Blumenthal's Big Fat Duck, all of Thomas Keller's books, Ferran Adrià's tome, Grant Achatz's Alinea, and another 12 linear feet of other cookbooks from Escoffier to Momufuko.

But flipping through this effort by the Voltaggio brothers, I was quickly impressed by the beautiful photography and the stunning plating, as well as by the complexity of the various dishes, many of which combine as many as six different preparations into one harmonious whole, e.g., the recipe for Lobster, Forbidden Rice, Carrots, Sunchoke Puree, and Carrot-Tarragon Vinaigrette.

Each recipe lists the necessary equipment, as well as the ingredients. Many, and perhaps even most, suggest using a thermal immersion circulator, although a simple CrockPot or rice cooker, together with an inexpensive controller such as the Sous Vide Magic would do equally well. Likewise, although a chamber vacuum or a FoodSaver style vacuum sealer would certainly be desirable, a home chef could get by very well using a ZipLoc bag and the Archimedes principle, wherein the bag containing the food is submerged in water until all of the air has been squeezed out, and then seal the final corner. (Eureka!)

Other, not so exotic or expensive equipment includes a 6-quart pressure cooker, a deep fryer (optional), a masticating juicer, a dehydrator (optional -- a convection oven or just a plain oven will also work), a high-speed blender, a Japanese mandoline, a PolyScience smoking gun and applewood or other wood shavings, an iSi canister with NO2 chargers, and a kitchen blowtorch.

Some of the recipes do call for liquid nitrogen and a Styrofoam cooler, although I prefer using a double-walled stainless steel bowl or bain. But in general, those techniques are for speed, e.g., when coating foie gras "tiles" with a strawberry liquid, and an alternative technique that involves freezing the foie gras in a freezer for eight hours is presented as well.

Since I have all of that equipment and more, and use them routinely when cooking for just the two of us, this volume will be a very welcome addition to my cookbook collection. For others who are just starting to go down this path, it may all seem rather intimidating, but there is a lot of information available on-line, and many people willing to help. See [...], for example.

I applaud the fact that all of the recipes are given in both traditional volume measurements (cups and teaspoons), as well as in the much more precise and repeatable metric weight-based measurements (grams).

Although terms like "reverse spherification" aren't used, perhaps to avoid the dreadful "molecular gastronomy" epithet, nonetheless such techniques are sometimes employed, as in the case of the Mock Oyster recipe.

There is a Sources section, but unless you know that what a hydrocolloid is, you might not find what you are looking for. In particular, the book uses the terminology introduced by Ferran Adrià and his line of Texturas ingredients, instead of the more conventional chemical names. "Algin" is sodium alginate, "Citras" is trisodium citrate dihydrate, "calcic" is calcium chloride, "gluco" is 75% calcium lactate and 25% calcium gluconate, "xantana" is Xanthan gum, "agar" is agar-agar, "kappa" is kappa carrageenan, "metil" is their particular brand of methylcellulose, "malto" is tapioca maltrodextrine, "lecite" is soy lecithin, and "sucro" is a combination of various sucroses. For further information, see [...]. At one time, Texturas offered a 12-unit Experimental sampler kit. More recently, others have been dividing the large bulk quantities into smaller portions that are more reasonable for the home user.

Finally, because many of these techniques are still quite new, it would have been a considerable help if a References section had been included. But then I would have had to give it six stars!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful cookbook, however completely impractical for any home use. I am a culinary student at the Art Institutes International and we chose this book as one of our units, but it was a disaster. The recipes are poorly written, confusing, and leaves out instructions. For example, the recipe for foie gras with compressed melons calls for brioche in the ingredients, but never tells you how to use it nor is it in the picture of the final plating. This not being a crisis, i realize, but should never happen in a properly edited cookbook. Many of the recipes also do not actually work and some just simply taste HORRIBLE! The textures of chocolate recipe has an ice cream in it that is made with menthol crystals... and it literally tastes so strongly like chugging cough syrup that we couldn't stand to get through more than one bite at our final tasting. My class consisted of 3 different groups of 3 or more students, most of which were graduating that quarter, and a VERY skilled, VERY meticulous Chef instructor... and every single plate we produced 3 different times, all with at least 1 element on the plate that did not work after multiple attempts.
I absolutely recommend this book for inspiration and plating ideas, but to actually use, it's mostly worthless in my opinion and the opinion of my Chef.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is simply beautiful. Stunning photography, artistic plating of the dishes and breathtaking story telling. It's the kind of book that challenges you in the kitchen. But this book is not for the average home chef, because many of the recipes require speciality equipment, such as thermal immersion circulators. I wrote a blog detailing my experience with this book. Check it out, if you like.
[...]
It's a wonderful book. I can't wait to try another recipe.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I see a lot of reviewers commenting on the impracticality of this book. The recipes are too complicated. The tools too ridiculous. Even I was shocked and awed by the "thermal immersion circulator", a completely new kitchen tool I'm considering adding to my home arsenal.

I am not a chef by any means. But I do seek out unusual food and related tools with which to experiment. And this book is outstanding if you're a foodie (not just a food lover, but an experimental food hobbyist) who is always on the lookout for inventive ideas, unusual food, and new techniques. I agree that if you're a home cook trying to feed a houseful of fussy eaters your $30 is better spent elsewhere. But if words like "thermal immersion circulator" and "salsify" and "squab" get you curious and excited, this book is a great one for your library of ideas.

I don't watch "Top Chef" and only discovered this books relationship to that show when I went to write this review (I picked the book up in-store). The photography is great, the design is wonderful, and you'll walk away with presentation and cooking ideas that you might not have otherwise discovered. Seriously. Popcorn puree? Butternut bark? Tomato coconut jus? This book is brimming with ideas and for the food creatives at heart, a worthwhile acquisition.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
i love the look of the book, love the idea of two brothers working together in competitions and together, what a great drive but unfortunately once i got the book i realized it was an overly commercially done book by william sonoma. now sometimes you have to have the big guy help out but the book is for me void of them mostly, it seems someone took their vision and spoken words and polished them. had i been in a bookstore i would have looked at it and probably not bought it. but i am still reading and can for the most part get a since of them and their style. it just dosen't have a soul for me and i want to like it. so i rate it ok but i hope they want do a book that's like the show they were on, i feel the book is in a way fake like that stupid food show. the end
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This cookbook is big, heavy and SUPER nice. It is full of fun stories, high quality photos and intereting recipes. I will admit I haven't made a thing from this book, but we bought it because of our love of the Voltaggio brothers (we fell in love with them when they were on Top Chef). If you are looking for a cookbook to display or gift to someone this is it. It is absolutely gorgeous and heavy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this for my son who is a Chef. We had followed these brothers on the series "Chef Masters" (?) and fell in love with both of them. Their creativity is amazing. Although the recipies are somewhat above me, the photography and their presentations are amazing. "My Chef" loved it!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. I find it interesting that there are so many people who gave the book low reviews. What did they think they were buying? I just can't imagine for the life of me why anyone would buy this book thinking that this was a standard cookbook to make easy recipes. This book is a collection of recipes that are pushing the envelope in terms of technique and ingredients. Frankly, these recipes are probably a challenge to most chefs.

If you plan on actually using this cookbook to cook from, plan on investing $2000 on specialty equipment such as a vacuum sealer, immersion circulator, etc. Even then, you'll need to be close to a large city to be able to have access to rare ingredients.

If you enjoy cooking, this is a fantastic book to learn about the newest techniques using modernist ingredients. While you might never even make a single recipe from this book, it will give you an education.

The bottom line is that if you watch Rachel Ray and enjoy cooking recipes with ten ingredients or less and make a meal in 30 minutes or less, don't expect that this will be similar.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Heritage
Heritage by Sean Brock (Hardcover - October 21, 2014)
$24.00

Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate
Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate by Richard Blais (Hardcover - February 26, 2013)
$22.68

Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking
Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking by David Joachim (Hardcover - October 16, 2012)
$26.66
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.