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The Professional Chef Hardcover – August 28, 2006
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This eighth edition of the standard textbook for professional chefs in the U.S. expands previous editions' coverage of both the science and the art of cooking. The nation's most prestigious training school for food careerists concentrates the essence of its course work within a comprehensive volume that competent students must master. Every aspect of the restaurant business is addressed, from nutrition and portion sizing to fiscal and human resource management. Sections on equipment, from major appliances to handheld tools, show the bond between chef and technology. Chapters on world cooking identify the most typical cooking processes and give examples of commonly appearing ingredients in each style. Recipes record classic preparations that form the foundation for myriad elaborations and personalization to move cooking from mere technique to high art. Although beyond the need of most home cooks, this massive tome is a necessary reference-collection purchase for any library whose community includes food-service-training programs. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I'd also like to add that I bought this book as 'used' which is something I was very wary about, seeing as it was probably used a lot in the kitchen. I was worried about food stains...etc. I was very pleasantly surprised that it came looking virtually brand new. Like it was literally bought and kept on a bookshelf w/o it even being cracked open.
As you might guess, the book approaches cooking as a profession. Culinary students will benefit from ample discussion not only of technique and cooking procedures, but also of the various other roles and skills demanded of chefs. For example, the book discusses the various systems and conventions of dividing labor in the kitchen, and describes the differences between an executive chef and a saucier chef. For those in culinary school or thinking about pursuing a culinary career or education, this book is perfect.
But for home cooks and cooking enthusiasts, don't assume that this book is not for you. If you're serious about cooking, even just as a hobby, there's something to be said about the comprehensive approach of learning techniques, terms, ingredients, and procedures in a structured way that proceeds from the simple to the complex--which is exactly what this book presents. It discusses and introduces the reader to nearly ever major ingredient and nearly every major cuisine. It's encyclopedic in the depth and breadth of the information within--much more so than the Joy of Cooking or similar books--and it gives the kind of technical training that one really needs in order to read, follow, alter, and otherwise truly understand recipes in the first place.
The recipes that are included--and there are many--include just about every major dish from every major cuisine. Goulash? Check. Béarnaise sauce? Check. Are dolmades your thing? It's in there. What about an authentic pad thai or summer roll? You'll find those too. What's great is that the text relates dishes so that similar dishes can be seen as progressions or alterations to basic techniques that are being covered. You learn how to braise, then you get various applications of that procedure from around the world. The text presents cooking from a truly global perspective, so students and readers won't find it difficult to tell how a single concept transcends dishes such as pilaf, risotto, cous cous, paella, pilua, or jambalaya and how the minor variations in technique and the focus on particular ingredients, flavors, and textures, makes these individual dishes what they are.
In short, you'll learn things in this book that you might not learn well or at all in any other book. The seriousness with which the text approaches cooking will benefit the home cook and help him or her to excel beyond the Rachel Rays and Paula Dean's of the world, while those aspiring to a future in the culinary arts will gain a solid introduction to the foundations of their chosen craft, discussing both the artform and the science and underlying mechanics of that artform. Everything from choosing equipment to the proper application of heat and a basic understanding of the physics behind it, will be found within these pages. The difference between this book and those aimed at home cooks is the difference between a college-level text on Spanish and a pocket guide of Spanish phrases. You might be able to quickly say "hello, my name is Pablo" or ask where the bathroom is, but you'll never really know the beauty of the language, nor ever really be able to understand it nor be able to say anything that hasn't already been laid out for you in that pocket guide if you lack a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals. Similarly, cooking is about more than recipes and incomplete knowledge... it's about methods, procedures, applications, techniques, ingredients, and the creative and artistic freedom to navigate within that framework in accordance with one's own style and flare.