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The Naked Chef Hardcover – October 11, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are a few British television chefs, such as Delia Smith and Nigel Slater, who know exactly what viewers want. They cook food that is simple to prepare but looks and tastes delicious. That's probably the reason why the BBC appointed Jamie Oliver as the presenter of its series The Naked Chef (which airs on the Television Food Network in the U.S.). A working chef at London's celebrated River Café, Oliver cooks simpler versions of the fare you would find on the restaurant's menu. It's basically modern Italian food using ingredients that can be found by almost anyone who is reasonably interested in food shopping. Like the television show, the book is titled The Naked Chef. In Oliver's words, this sums up the idea: "It's basically stripping back to the bare essentials." He applies this to all his recipes--from salads to roasts, desserts to pastas. He doesn't use culinary jargon or time-consuming processes. In the book you'll find suggestions for ingredients to keep in your larder (pantry) and herbs to grow on your windowsill. Recipes include Warm Salad of Radicchio; Gem and Pancetta; and Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pesto, Mussels, and White Wine. There are also tips on how to cook live lobsters, how to make gravy, preparing dry beans for cooking, and how to make the perfect roast chicken. Several photographs accompany some of the recipes, with step-by-step instructions. Oliver's recipes for bread are particularly good--a tribute to his training at Carluccio's, the Covent Garden deli. This is the perfect book for anyone who doesn't want to spend much more than a half-hour preparing meals and is not willing to compromise on innovation or taste. --Dale Kneen, Amazon.co.uk

From Publishers Weekly

With charming finesse, 24-year-old British chef and BBC television cooking show host Oliver argues a convincing case for "getting naked" in the kitchen. His home-cooking philosophy advocates "stripping down those [restaurant] recipes to something quite basic, and adapting them to what I had in cupboard, pantry, refrigerator or garden." The 120 recipes are organized into 12 chaptersDherbs and spices, soups, salads and dressings, pasta, seafood, meats, vegetables, legumes, risotto and couscous, bread, dessertsDwith a concluding section on stocks and sauces. Oliver's suggested list of ingredient staplesDEnglish mustard, durum semolina, couscous, sea salt, soy sauce and capers, among othersDreflects today's global pantry. His culinary approach synthesizes top-quality, fresh ingredients with fundamental culinary concepts (e.g., composed salads, soups from stock) upon which readers can build. Oliver dispenses helpful tips and advice with boyish enthusiasm: "the perfect risotto should slowly ooze across the plateDthe fact that it isn't moving tells you that it's too dry. Yuck!" Succinct, user-friendly recipes range from traditional English home-cooking favorites, like Pot-roasted Rabbit with Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Lemon, to international comfort foods, such as Fragrant Green Chicken Curry. A stellar pasta chapter showcases photogenic renditions of Beet Tagliatelle with Pesto, Mussels and White Wine, and Ravioli of Borage, Stinging Nettles, Marjoram and Fresh Ricotta. This is functional home cooking at its grooviest: Oliver delivers a hip classic that will appeal to a new generation of modern epicureans who face the challenge of cooking within the confines of tiny urban kitchens on time-pressed schedules.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1st edition (October 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786866179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786866175
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Woodley on December 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For those of you unfortunate not to catch Jamie Oliver on the telly - then get the cookbook. If you've caught him on the Telly, then buy the cookbook anyway.
This book is the first of two he's written so far based on his cooking shows. The 'Naked' part of Naked Chef refers to the cooking. His style is to strip down recipes into simple, tasty, quick and easy food. The wonderful thing about the recipes is they are not only easy to follow but they are the basis for as many wonderful variations as you want to make. For instance, he has a basic bread recipe, but lots of great variations.
Once you have the basics it is easy to develop your own dishes too. His presentation is always simple and he has lots of tips for how to make things work. He covers a full range of meals from breakfast through to beverages and deserts so there is something for any time of the day.
I must say I also like Jamie Oliver for his casual style. He is without pretentions but the food that comes out of the kitchen is always fabulous, looks great, tastes gourmet, and is dead impressive. As Jamie says - its Pukka (translation - GREAT!)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after discovering the television show and reading the enthusiastic reviews. The recipes taste great and leave your kitchen smelling heavenly. The instructions are clear, although occasionally, Jamie neglects to define specific terms such as "sweating" vegetables, and often uses imprecise measurements (i.e. "handfuls"). Being petite, my hand almost certainly holds less than his, but this is a minor point. If you don't use fresh herbs already, Jamie will quickly convert you.
Jamie states at one point that the book represents what he likes to cook. Unfortunately, the recipes do not reflect what I like to cook, and given a second chance, I would not buy this book again. The following information is not meant as criticism, but as a guide to help you determine if these recipes are for you.
You will find few stews, casseroles, or meats cooked in a sauce in this collection. Most of the meats are roasted with herbs, and three-quarters of the dishes use red meat (mostly lamb). The seafood section, while offering a variety of fish, contains only two shellfish recipes. The pasta section emphasizes fresh, homemade noodles with light sauces or filled pastas such as ravioli and tortellini. You will not find any recipes for lasagna, cannelloni, or other baked dishes. The grain chapter consists only of risottos and couscous, and the legume section mostly of seasoned beans or lentils meant as side dishes. The desserts consist primarily of steamed puddings, tarts, and an ice cream-like concoction called semifreddo. Alas, no cookies or cakes!
Some of these dishes are too time-consuming or fattening for me to make on a regular basis, despite their deliciousness. Others are simply not what I prefer to eat--I'll take Coq au Vin over herb-roasted chicken any day. Decide for yourself if this book offers the kind of recipes you want.
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Format: Hardcover
The caption above this review sums it up fairly well. Simply put, this is a terrific addition to your cookbook library. Why? Well, in a few main points, because:
Easy, very accessible recipes. Practicality is the cornerstone of much of Oliver's recipes. You won't find overly difficult or complex recipes here. Very easy-to-do, simple-to-follow approaches. Very easy to find ingredients. At the same time, taste and presentation are not sacrificied either. The recipes are simply delicious. Very important. By comparison, everything that Bittman tried to achieve in the "Minimalist" cookbook is acheived and far surpassed by Oliver.
Thoroughly enjoyable text. Oliver is very funny. His humor and wit come across strikingly well. His stories are personal as well. His writing makes for simply enjoyable reading. Quite a bonus when it comes to cookbooks.
Very nice graphics and layout. The photographs are beautiful, and the design that went into the publishing of this book is top of the line. Very good.
Also a plus, more so for novice chefs (or beginners), is the inclusion of many helpful tips and pointers. Oliver puts in his two-cents worth on what to look for in "staples" or the basics of cooking. Anything from raw ingredients, to cooking utensils. Nice to have and refer to when/should the need strike you.
VERY WORTH having this text in your kitchen. You will enjoy it and value it. You and yours will also reap the benefits of this text by way of some outstanding recipes.
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Format: Hardcover
I have cooked all my life. As a girl I loved to help my mum, and then when I married and got four kids there were always someone to cook and bake for. And there still is.
Living in Norway I am used to make most of the food from scratch, and to bake most of the bread and cakes we eat. I also have inherited alot of recipes from my mother, my grandmothers, and (some of the best ones) from my father-in-law.
Of course I thought I knew everything there was to know about making tasty food in my kitchen:-) Then my husband got The Naked Chef for Christmas. I had seen a few of Jamie Olivers television programs and was interested in the book. And after having read a few pages I was hooked.
Jamie Oliver has a very simple, fresh way to cook. There is nothing difficult, no dishes with too much preparations (at least he tells us so). Still the food he is making is so good, so tasty, and looks so elegant. Take his bread recipes for instance. He starts with the same ingredients for all his different sorts of bread, then, "simsalabim", he does a little trick, and you have a totally different bread.
I celebrated my birthday as an Italian party the other night, and his Focaccias and Ciabattas are the most delicious ones I have tasted (exept from the fresh ones bought in Iatky of course).
I still have alot to try from his book, and look forward to great hours in my kitchen, in Jamie's company.
Britt Arnhild Lindland
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