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The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking (The Teaching Company, The Great Courses)

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 01, 2012)
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4
$78.99 $47.00

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Editorial Reviews

4 DVD set with full-color hardcover book. Food is both an art and a science, and mastering both requires an understanding of the fundamentals. The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a course of 24 highly visual and instructional lessons in which you'll get a first-hand education in the essentials of cooking from an expert who's not just entertaining, but trained to teach how to actually cook. Chef Briwa has devoted his entire career to showing audiences around the world the craft behind cooking, gastronomy, and flavor dynamics. A former chef at several California restaurants, he's also spoken, presented, and judged at professional cooking conferences and competitions, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference and the National Restaurant Association Show. Learn the culinary secrets of CIA-trained chefs. Explore in depth each of the major cooking techniques any chef must know. Learn how to work with unique tastes and ingredients to expand your palate. Rediscover the joy of cooking and eating. 24 - 30 minute lectures: Cooking-Ingredients, technique and flavor; Your Most Essential Tool-Knives, More Essential Tools-From pots to shears; Saute-Dry-heat cooking with fat; Roasting-Dry-heat cooking without fat; Frying-Dry-heat cooking with fat; From Poach to Steam-Mist-heat cooking; Braising and Stewing-COmbination Cooking; Herbs and Spices-Flavor on demand; Sauces-From beurre blanch to bechamel; Grains and Legumes-Cooking for great flavor; Salads from the Cold Kitchen; Eggs-From the classic to the contemporary; Soups from Around the World; From Fetticcine to Orecchiette-Fresh and dry pasta; Meat; Seafood; Vegetables in Glorious Variety; A Few Great Desserts for Grown-Ups; THirst-The new flavor frontier and Crafting a Meal, Engaging the Senses.

Product Details

  • Actors: Chef Bill Briwa
  • Format: Color, DVD
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Studio: The Great Courses
  • Run Time: 720 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1598038990
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I am only up to lesson 4, but I can say that the chef is very good, explains things very well, speaks well into the camera. I had sent another course back due to the professor being horribly boring. This chef/teacher is very good. I can't give it 5 stars only because I wish it had more close-ups. He'll be showing you something and you can't see it right away and then there will be a close up, but just briefly. The one thing I absolutely HATE about this course is it has graphics that are so distracting--boxes and stripes of red, tan, green stripes that keep zooming in and out of the frame. You really have to be able to ignore these. I'm working on that, but it's not easy. I truly don't get why they would do graphics like that instead of just putting it on the screen discreetly. It's a nice basic course from what I can tell. The first lesson about taste vs. flavor was pretty boring but it got better in #2.
**Update--I am on DVD#2 now and have really learned a lot. I can't say enough about Bill Briwa, I think his name is. He really explains things very well. I hope he comes out with another course, in more detail. I would buy it. Still dealing with the graphics but they have been a bit less it seems, the farther on I've gotten in the program.
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Gives you all the basics and the chef that teaches you is very relaxed, down-to-earth, and relateable. He explains things clearly and gives lots of demonstrations. Enjoyable to watch and easy to follow.
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I acquired this as a Christmas gift for my wife and she loved it. The Great Courses Series, regardless of the topic are extremely thorough and well done. I was very happy to find this multi-disc set at a bargain price. The shipper was extremely quick with this order as well, and it arrived in plenty of time for the holidays despite the late order. Thanks!
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Great get off the ground instructions. Describes equipment and food terminology. This series with Chef Bill Briwa will give Martha Stewart a challenge.

At first it seems a little strange as you are expecting more of a documentary style. What you get is a full fledged chef that challenges you to experiment.

I am going though the series for a second time to see what I missed while thinking at the time he was demonstrating.
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Four and 1/2 Stars. Very well done. Chef Briwa takes you thru the essential fundamentals of a trained chef. I was very pleased with his presentation and the skill set he builds. Great emphasis is placed on developing abilities (including tasting skills, wine pairing, equipment, spices, sauces and stocks, ingredients, etc..), rather than on specific recipes. Chef Briwa does use many complete dishes/recipes in his presentations. I took the half star because of a few too many digressions into Thai dishes that struck me as excessively sweet, and tertiary at best to the rest of the course.

I also ordered the hardcover book, which is more of a guide thru the course than a cookbook. I have used it several times and am happy to have it. It saved me the tedium of note taking while viewing the lessons.
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This was the first of The Great Courses that I tried - I actually bought this on a physical copy on 4 DVDs instead of streaming the video. The DVDs which came with an accompanying hardover coursebook, which was basically an outline of the material covered.

First of, Chef Bill Briwa (the course instructor) is knowledgeable, relatable, and amiable. The approach here is not a "follow the directions in the recipe" approach, but more of a culinary technique approach, using taste, touch, smell, and sight to cook. This might be a little off-putting to amateurs at first (it was for me), but stick with it - your first kitchen experiments might be disasters, but you will learn more about flavor balance and cooking instinctively eventually. There are 24 lessons here, of varying lengths, and they really are more like lessons rather than lectures. Chef Briwa is obviously an accomplished cook, and I really liked his craftsman-like approach to cooking. I plan on watching these a couple more times from the beginning, hoping to pick up some of the things I might have missed the first time around.

I would also strongly recommend picking up an additional companion book, like The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook if you are just starting out, since it's also highly visual and will fill in a lot of the gaps from these DVDs. Highly recommended.
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We really need to go back to basics of cooking again. With all this fast food and instant TV dinners, the quality of health of the human being is deteriorating. I would not go to the extreme of the "slow food" philosophy, because, although it has its merits, it ends up becoming very snobish because only Ancien Regime people could afford to get all those original pristine materials and the sophisticated chefs to cook for them. But if you go back to basics you can prepare very tasty, nutritious and healthy food yourself for you and your guests.
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