One of my very favorite food authors is Michael Ruhlman. The man is a total and complete food snob, but he owns it. You gotta respect that. (Check out his blog and you'll understand what I'm talking about ).
Ruhlman is all about not good, but exceptional food, how to make it, and how to get to the point where you can make it, which truthfully, most folks don't. He's working on another level, both on his own and with the most talented chefs this country has to offer.
The first Ruhlman book I read was The Making of a Chef. The book detailed his time spent at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) taking Skills One - the building block for the culinary program. Not only is the subject fascinating to anyone who has ever harbored a secret, or not-so-secret, desire to attend the CIA, but his writing is fluid and passionate without being slick.
I enjoyed the first book so much, that of course I snagged The Soul of a Chef as soon as it came out. Same essential idea as the first, but delving a bit further into the intricacies and hazards of the Certified Master Chef exam (yowza!), as well as an endearing (to me anyway) portrait of Michael Symon, now a well-known Iron Chef on tv, before tv became part of his routine. There's also a section on Thomas Keller, regarded by some as the best chef in America, and a co-author with Ruhlman on the French Laundry cookbook (you should visit French Laundry at Home btw, the now completed blog from the phenomenal and hysterical Carol Blymire-you won't be sorry you did).
When The Reach of a Chef was released in 2006, I'm pretty sure I purchased it the day it came out. I really love Ruhlman's writing, as it's thoughtful and in-depth, and of course relates to a subject I adore. This book is a little different. It seriously addresses the commercialization of chefs in this day and age, whether it's appropriate, and what it's done to cooking. Both Emeril and Rachael Ray are subjects, but aren't addressed in the slam sort of way typical by intense food lovers. Personally, I have always thought that folks missed out on the true appeal of these two cooks. Not the "Rachaelisms" or Bam!, but that fact that these two got people cooking and can indeed, be credited at least somewhat, for the role that food and cooking has taken in our culture. Food has always been appreciated by food snobs, but not until there is mass appeal can there be a movement. Maybe the style of these two popular "tv" chefs isn't similar to my own, but I can absolutely credit them for getting cooking out there to the public. It's one of the reasons I can do what I do.
Three awesome books by one very talented writer. And I'm giving them away.
These books have been loved and are from my personal collection. Two are hardcover, one paperback, all well-loved and fabulous.
Comment on this post, and let me know something you do that may be considered a little food snobby by your friends and family. Mine? I love offal. This doesn't appeal to most folks, and they tend to think I'm a little nuts. Doesn't matter to me!
Deadline in Friday at midnight (July 31). Post on my lovelies, post on.