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Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen Hardcover – October 28, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Curing duck breasts and hanging them like hams in your refrigerator for three weeks may not be your particular pail of blueberries. Or brining a whole, 30-pound piglet as a precursor for making porchetta. But how about grilling a hangar steak and slathering it with a bordelaise sauce? Mind you, this is a sauce that calls for a bottle of dry red wine and three quarts of veal stock as well as the requisite vegetables. But that's the point here: the best imaginable ingredients and a lot of focused work leading to a sublimely simple outcome. Simple in this case being an ultimate grilled steak experience. The kind of experience dished up at Tom Colicchio's restaurant Craft. Craft of Cooking is Colicchio's way of making that same experience available in your own home.

The author of Think Like a Chef is betting that if he shows you what he does in a commercial kitchen, it will have an impact on your home cooking. Because what he does in his kitchen is what he likes to eat at home. It's not about speed, and it's not about convenience. It's about making food taste great without fanfare or pretension. The book breaks out in major ingredient sections, meat, fish, vegetables, and the like. Subsections in meat, for example, include charcuterie, roasting and grilling, and braising. Some of the recipes, like the one for baby lamb, are simply too big for the home kitchen. But Colicchio wants you to see what he's up to. He wants you to think about it. There are long asides about various products--the hangar steak, mesclun, beurre fondue--called ingredient portraits. And there are notes that detail how all the elements of a restaurant from prep to wine service fit together.

For anyone who simply loves to read delicious recipes, this is an elegant book. For those home cooks with some experience--skilled amateurs--Craft of Cooking is a challenge as well as a portal to a whole new realm of fine cuisine. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

"I haven't tried to simplify these recipes for the sake of the home cook," writes Colicchio (Think Like a Chef). "Simple food doesn't mean simplistic. It requires a healthy dose of skill and hard work." And with that caveat, he offers up 125 uneven dishes. While there are plenty of recipes that are simple to prepare, most of the book's recipes require time, patience and, occasionally, deep pockets: Duck Ham must hang in the refrigerator for three weeks; Braised Monkfish calls for 17 ingredients, three of which are sub-recipes; and foie gras and black truffles make several appearances. Colicchio is unapologetic in including "behemoth" recipes-restaurant dishes that he admits may be out reach of most home cooks. Uncompromisingly fresh flavors are his touchstone, and squeamish cooks may find it disquieting to discover that many ingredient animals such as soft shell crabs and lobster meet their end at the cook's hand. Colicchio has subdivided the chapters into sections according to technique-roasting, sauteing, braising, pureeing, marinating. Each chapter includes ingredient portraits, as well as essays, that give a sneak peek behind Craft's doors. (While the photos throughout are nicely placed, the extreme close-up of carrots and celery on the cover is a kind of culinary Rorschach test.) The essays, though, are a jarring interlude because the book, which is written from Colicchio's point of view, suddenly does an about face by quoting the chef, and the disembodied narrator is never revealed. But will all this dampen sales? Certainly not. The Colicchio name is enough to sell this book, and the clear, simply written recipes will quell even the worst case of kitchen anxiety. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609610503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609610503
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I anticipated many good things in this new Tom Colicchio cookbook, based on the title and the author's excellent first book, `How to Think Like a Chef'. My first surprise was that the title mislead one to think it was a general book on cooking skills. Instead, it is an exposition on the cooking at Colicchio's Manhatten restaurant Craft and the title was really a play on words. A much more accurate title would have been `Cooking of Craft'. The author does not hide this fact. In the `How to use this book' section, Colicchio states clearly that the audience for the book is `a skilled amateur or enthusiastic hobbyist' where `speed and convience are probably not your first focus here'. As the content `this is a book that sets out how things are done in one restaurant, Craft'. My second surprise was based on the fact that Colicchio's stated goal for the cuisine of `Craft' was to make the kind of simple, well prepared food he makes at home. Well.... When you throw in the `...prepared well...' qualifier with a bunch of extremely talented, obsessive corp of chefs working in the Manhatten restaurant market, you get something which no home cook in their right mind would consider `simple'. I'm exaggerating a bit, since, as I will cite below, there is much of value for simple fare, but there is no evidence of this simplicity in the opening section on meats. In fact, the opening section in the meats chapter is on `charcuterie', a term which the author does not even bother to explain. This IS rough going for newbies, especially since charcuterie is one of the fussiest and most time consuming of classic cuisinary techniques. But, it does get better.
The book is divided by eight simple sections, in which there are rewards for the skilled amateur.
Read more ›
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By B. Thomas on December 28, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a cookbook for everyone. I have worked in some interesting kitchens so navigating the recipes is fun for me, an insight into an amazing kitchen and its crew,but the recipes are uncompromising, that is there charm. I live in an obscure part of Japan, I couldn't find half the ingredients (goat, uni, ume budo, no problem) short of flying to Tokyo but seeing the restraint and precision this food is made with is the delight of the book. If you are buying the book to cook from make a detailed assessment of your skills.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this cookbook for my husband after we dined at Tom Colicchio's Craft Steak in Las Vegas. We just had to be able to make more of Chef Colicchio's amazing meals. We love this cookbook and only wish that we used it more than when we're feeling adventurous and want to expierence great food in our own home. I just wish we had time to make something out of this book every night because everything we've tried has been spectacular.
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By Ava on February 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not too many cookbooks give more than a few recipes that I'm really excited about. This was packed with them. I'm really going to enjoy working through this book because it's just how I like to cook. Recipes highlight the food, allowing their flavors to shine through rather than cover them up.
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Format: Hardcover
As several others have already stated, the title is misleading and should be the Cooking of Craft. Was that a consideration for me in buying the book? Yes, so perhaps I should even rate this lower.

I am above entry level skill wise yet still much of this book is beyond me in terms of availability of ingredients and practicality. Still it provides insight. On the other side there are several dishes I've tried and like, and the recipe for fava beans (though labor intensive) with the terragon tea alone is worth the price of admission for the book.
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I bought this because I saw it in Craftsteak (Las Vegas) after a recent visit there. I do like that this cookbook has many of Tom Colicchio's thoughts on food, restaurants, etc.
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Excellent recipes & a great souvenir if you have ever eaten at one of Collicchio's restaurants! Recipes are relatively easy. Great appetizers for a party!
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