Customer Reviews: Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen: An Indispensable Guide for Anybody Who Likes to Cook
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on October 6, 2004
I've tried recipes from virtually every cook/chef on the Food Network but Tyler's recipes are the only recipes that have consistently turned out good, if not great. His show Food 911 has provided several staples in our household which are very easy to cook and prepare, due to the nature of the show.

With that in mind, I decided his book would be an excellent idea to buy and quite frankly, it is. The recipes are wonderful, savory and enjoyed by everyone - even kids. But I do have to agree with what some of the reviewers are saying, which is that you do need to have a little cooking know-how with this one to make it effective. I can see how someone who isn't very comfortable in the kitchen can make mistakes - perhaps Tyler's logic was that since it's the printed page, he could afford to make it a little more complicated as opposed to a tv show.

All in all though, if you're comfortable with your kitchen skills, by all means, this is a GREAT recipe book to keep in your kitchen.
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on March 6, 2005
This book is quite easy to follow for the novice like me. I've been a huge fan of Tyler ever since watching him on Food Network on the now cancelled Tyler's Ultimate show. I prepared a meal for a group of my friends that went over so well that everyone still asks me for his recipes. I made the meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, chocolate cake, and the "wow wow" cocktails. Everything turned out incredibly wonderful the first try. The portions are huge which is good if you are making food for a party. His definition of party is probably around 6-10 people, while I made all that food for only 4 friends. We had leftovers but everyone was happy about that. If you plan to prepare the exact menu I did, it may take at least 2-3 hours to prepare everything. I have a small kitchen so that did slow me down. You can also make the chocolate cake one day ahead and it will still taste great the next day. I went to a food demonstration hosted by Tyler a few months ago and he is obviously a very nice and friendly man and definitely shows his love for cooking. The pictures in the book are very nice and this would make a great gift to any food fans. Wonderful pictures of Tyler in the book are an added bonus!
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on April 7, 2003
I have owned this cookbook for exactly one week and I have already used four of the recipes (successfully!)--and I hardly ever used a cookbook in the past. I have volumes of cookbooks on the shelves in my kitchen, but I purchased most of them because they had pretty pictures. Often I find that the beautiful cookbooks supply recipes that are too complicated for the novice cook (like me)and require ingredients that are difficult to find. Like his TV show (Food 911), the recipes in "Real Kitchen" are unfussy to prepare, the ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores, and the results are so elegantly satisfying. He puts interesting,innovative twists on old favorites, like roasted chicken with Moroccan spices and crepes with figs and ricotta. The recipes I have tried thus far are the blueberry scones with lemon glaze--to which my English husband gave high praise, horseradish burgers with Havarti and tomato remoulade--a real hit at our barbecue, cold fried chicken--just like my grandma's since you soak it in buttermilk, and a blueberry-lemon tart--delectable. I highly recommend this cookbook to any kitchen novice. The text is witty, the layout is easy on the eyes, and yes--the photos are fabulous.
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Tyler writes in his preface: "I hope you have as much fun tearing through this cookbook as my team and I did creating it."
Goal reached, Tyler! This cookbook is Tyler! His laid back, easy going, fun loving spirit exudes forth in this recipe collection. Not pretentious food, just good, solid cusine of all types and for all occassions. From sophisticated to the simple, for one or two, to a block party, they're all covered in slightly over 300 pages with four-color, sharp bright energetic photos, and great commentary running: e.g. one of my favs: "Behind every great culture there is a kitchen." Multiple cultures are well represented here, Eastern, Mexican, tropical, Italian, etc.
This is well balanced, creative and unique in its style and wide variety of cuisine, with such sections as "Table For Two" "One Pot Wonders".
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on December 2, 2003
I've taken up cooking as a hobby for about 1 ½ years now, and judge a cookbook on how well it improves my overall cooking ability. Based on that score, this is easily one of the best cookbooks I have in my small cooking library of about 15 books. This book even improved my preparation of seemingly mundane items such a scrambled eggs and green beans.
I like the fact that Florence presents a number of traditional recipes that are flavorful, without hitting you over the head with a bunch of spices, and reasonably sophisticated, without requiring long hours in the kitchen. That can be a fine line, and this book walks it well. And like his FoodNetwork show, Food 911, he presents techniques with the recipes, which can make quite a difference. Fans of his Food 911 show will recognize some of the recipes.
Specifically, the scone recipe produced some of the best scones I've ever had, and I had no prior experience with baking scones. I didn't follow Tyler's advice very carefully on the Stir Fried Beef and Green Beans dish, a screwed up the steps to fry tangerines and beef. It still tasted pretty good! The New York Cheesecake was addictive, and the simple green bean side dish with walnuts, shallots, and lemon juice was very easy to make, yet had an excellent and unique flavor. Other main courses in this book turned out excellent and are going to be served in my house for years to come. I'm eager to try many of the others I haven't gotten to yet.
I would caution that the one downside to the book is that a few times, I found the preparation time for a step in the recipe would take a significantly different time than what the recipe called for. For example, Tyler suggested wilting the spinach for the pan-fried tofu for thirty seconds. In practice, this took 2-3 minutes. I had a similar experience with another reviewer with the baked salmon. (I just left it in the oven longer.) The picture in the book with the scones recipe caused me a double take, before I realized they probably used a stock photo, instead of one of the actual recipe. For these reasons, I recommend any cook using the recipes here to be careful, because it does throw a few small curves at you. For complete beginners, I would not recommend it for this reason.
Forgive the cliché, but if I could only have one cookbook, this would be it. It really improved my performance in the kitchen and presents a great range of recipes.
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on September 6, 2003
A great gourmet cookbook but by no means reflects the title "... Real Kitchen" I'm a 30 something dad looking to improve the quality of our everyday family meals. The title and all the great reviews drew me in! - Tyler must have lots of friends :)
If you think that a single recipe comprised of "Salmon Gravlax", "Buckwheat Blini", and "Dill Creme Fraiche" is appropriate for a "real kitchen" cookbook than this is the book for you !
I need high quality practical recipes that can be prepared in short order - not, "Clambake" with lobsters, kielbasa, clams and oysters!
I firmly believe that the readers and the publisher would be better served if this were re-marketed as a "Gourmet Cookbook".
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on March 26, 2003
Okay, so I have a huge crush on Tyler like any other woman who has seen him on Food 911. That said, this is still the best cookbook I have bought in a long time. Although most of the recipes involve simple ingredients and are accessible even to those with only a basic culinary skills, the result is full-flavored and elegant food. While I love to cook, I have resisted investing in cookbooks. I found it wasteful to only make a few special recipes from a book. With Tyler's book, you get a glipmse of cuisine from a wide variety of cultures. At the same time, most recipes don't require exotic ingredients that may be hard to come by. This book is true to Tyler's show. His goal is to get people who love cooking to try anything and be successful at it. Like it says in title this is truly "an indispenable book for anybody who likes to cook". Thanks Tyler, I have been waiting for this one.
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on March 5, 2005
First, I love this book, and am very much looking forward to the release of Tyler's next cookbook.

With that said, a majority of the recipies in this book are quite advanced.

With the exception of a few recipies, most of these will require you to make a trip to your local grocery store, and a few specialty stores as well.

As a "hobby chef" I find myself waiting for the weekend to attempt most of these recipies, as it lets me spend a good amount of time in the kitchen.

While the recipies require a bit of work, the results are usually spectacular. I do agree with another reviewer that the idea of "eyeballing" certain ingredients is a bit of a pain. I really have no clue what a "3-count" of something is. So I find myself guessing at a few ingredents.

I think this is a great cookbook for advanced cooks, and food-lovers alike.
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on April 24, 2003
These dishes are fantastic! Tyler has managed to pair certain foods together to make mouth watering recipes. You won't find your run of the mill recipes in here. What you will find are dishes that will make your family and guests say "Wow! You did this?". He starts out with a primer on what tools and food staples a chef should have on hand, which is nice if you new to cooking or just looking to upgrade your cookware. The recipes which follow (including mouth watering photographs)will definitely get you excited about cooking. Everything from appetizers,breakfast/brunch, to one pot dishes and outdoor cooking. He even has a few pages on fancy cocktail drinks. If you love to cook, you will love this book.
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on June 22, 2003
This one's a winner. Tyler Florence of Food 911 fame shares a wonderful assortment of relatively easy recipes that any half way knowledgeable home cook can produce. The food is simple enough that even beginners can manage to bang out even the complicated dishes in the time given with each recipe.
The sections on equipment and pantry stocking were great for a person with very little experience cooking, but readers with advanced knowledge will find them a boring read. I recommend skimming that section if you have more than a working knowledge of kitchen equipment and food stuffs. I understand the need for these sections in almost every chefs cookbook, but after you've seen one, you've seen them all.
This is a very attractive book. The photography and food styling are fantastic. If you just want to look at pictures this is the wrong book for you. Pick up one of Charlie Trotter's books if you want to see some truly uncookable stuff. This is a more usable cookbook than all of Trotter's books combined. All of the ingredients are available in most major cities and won't require all of your pans and most of your paycheck. The recipes are very doable.
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