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For Chefs ... and Armchair Chefs,
This review is from: Momofuku (Hardcover)
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I came to MOMOFUKU as a relatively beginning cook (despite my middle age) and an intermediate foodie, and suspected that the recipes from David Chang's acclaimed group of NYC restaurants would be over my head. I was right -- as they will be for all but the most adventurous and experienced cooks. But recipes aren't the only aspect to this book -- it's also a memoir of Chang's path from happy noodle-eater/unhappy office-worker through cooking school and apprenticeships to award-winning chef and restaurateur.
In fact, straightforward recipes are fairly rare in this book. Rather, they're tutorials -- each step is a paragraph about process and technique, and I'm already a better cook (and restaurant patron) just for having read them. The book itself is trademark Clarkson-Potter (think Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart books) -- smooth, heavy pages filled with full-color photographs of food, the restaurants, diners and staff -- many of which evoke a sense of motion and hectic energy. That energy is reinforced by Chang's conversational text, including profanity (which feels seamless and characterizing) and absolute gems of instruction. For example, for a pan-roasted rib eye (a do-able recipe), Chang advises to "Season the steak liberally with salt -- like you'd salt a sidewalk in New York in the winter," and, after cooking, to "Let the steak rest. Just leave it the hell alone"; about removing the fat from pigskin in the process of making pork rinds (*not* a do-able recipe): "Scrape gently but with determination."
Highly recommended for uber-motivated -- and armchair -- cooks.