From Publishers Weekly
Pintabona, chef of New York's Tribeca Grill who famously fed hundreds of recovery workers after 9/11, shapes a diverse collection of recipes around the story of his life. Unfortunately, Pintabona's story—from his Italian-American childhood to his French and Japanese culinary training and his restaurant proprietorship—isn't as appealing as the food he celebrates. By clinging to the memoir structure, Pintabona forces readers to discover dishes according to his life's chronology, rather than in relation to ingredients, courses, seasonality or technique (though there is a list of recipes by course). When he works in France, readers learn about Îles Flottantes; when he visits Israel, they find Eggplant Cured in Lemon. The recipes include Sicilian Stuffed Calamari with Raisins and Pignoli, Japanese Yakinuku (barbecue), and Turkey Meat Loaf with Cranberry Glaze. The section devoted to working at the Tribeca Grill is more practical, where Pintabona's elaborations on cooking for crowds—with hors d'oeuvres like Chicken Skewers "Cordon Bleu" and chafing dish entrées such as Filet Mignon with Horseradish Whipped Potatoes—bring a more cohesive flow to the narrative. But still, the book is a strange hybrid. Part personal scrapbook, part international cookbook, it lacks the spirit that its likable author displayed in his earlier Tribeca Grill Cookbook
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In the realm of world cookbooks, this book comes as close as any to a comprehensive survey. Pintabona made his reputation at New York's Tribeca Grill, but it was a long journey. His upbringing in a Sicilian American home gave him a foundation in typical home Italian cooking. Professional training at the Culinary Institute of America gave way to years of travel and work in France, Japan, and Southeast Asia. These experiences all contributed to the astonishing range of recipes found here. Beginning with a typical Italian American dish of meatballs in tomato sauce, Pintabona proceeds to a rustic pate, poached prunes, miso-glazed fish, veal-stuffed artichokes, Singapore noodles, and fruit cobbler. Recipes vary in complexity from simple meats and casseroles to sophisticated Manhattan restaurant fare. Sidebars recall journeys accomplished and friendships made. Deeply family-oriented, Pintabona revels in memories of his Sicilian roots. His account of Manhattan restaurants' response to the horrors of 9/11 makes moving reading. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved