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Customer Review

on June 12, 2009
David gives just about any information anyone would want to know about the 50 top cooking schools across the U.S. Nonetheless, he notes in the Introduction that this should not be taken as the "final word" since personnel can change and the classes at most schools change too to reflect new trends and interests. So before signing up for classes or traveling to go to a cooking school, one should call to get the latest information on these matters which can change. Nonetheless, the cautionary, commonsense note does not compromise the basic, reliable information making up nearly all the content. Most cooking schools are based on an individual cook who was their founder or connected to an acclaimed restaurant--factors which do not change and are the main reason for interest in a particular school. There's also the basic information about location. Many readers wishing to upgrade their cooking skills and knowledge will be glad to learn about superior cooking schools not far away; or perhaps ones in places where they always wanted to take a vacation. Costs, length of classes, choices of classes at a school, format (demonstration or hands-on), class size, and contact are basics one would want to plan attending one of the schools.

Beyond such practical considerations, the background of the head of the school or in some cases its group of instructors and synopsis of the school's philosophy help readers select a school matching their ideas or aims in cooking. Diane Carlson, owner of the Conscious Gourmet school in Greenwich, CT, was motivated to become a chef by health problems of hers including blood pressure and mood swings. At the Woodlands Resort and Inn in South Carolina, there are demonstrations of specialized aspects of cooking such as "how to use artisanal salts and exotic peppercorns from around the world to enlarge flavor."

Cooks need not even be planning attending a school to enjoy and gain from the book. The material on the background of the school founder or staff (including references to top restaurants) and the food and cooking philosophy--i. e., approach to foods, preparation, and cooking--are informative and often instructive. Also the majority of listings have a representative recipe from the school, in some cases two, making a total of 53 widely varied recipes. Joe David has written many articles on cuisine for periodicals from newspapers to in-flight magazines.
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