Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chef Eguaras shares 101 things he learned in culinary school

Chef Louis Eguaras has written a little book full of great culinary insights.  "101 Things I Learned in Culinary School" may be small in size, but it concisely packs a lot of knowledge.  The novice, as well as the more experienced home cook will find items of interest, and there are plenty of insights aimed at those wishing to work in a professional kitchen, too.

The book becomes available in bookstores today, and is illustrated by architect Matthew Frederick, creator and editor of the "101 Things I Learned" series, and author of "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School."

Chef Eguaras says "after more than twenty years teaching and working in the culinary arts, I am sure of one thing: a chef can never stop learning and growing.... A chef must be a scholar of colors, textures, and fragrances.  He or she must know the history of food, its chemistry and alchemy, the art of presentation, and how to keep customers safe.  A chef has to know how to manage and meet customers' needs and expectations, how to create and manage budgets, and how to delegate and answer to those working around him or her."

You'll learn everything from how to boil water, to how to shop at a farmers' market.  You'll learn how to look, smell, poke, cut and taste, and how to recognize doneness in meat.  You'll find quotes from Julia Child, Conrad Hilton of hotel fame, Anthony Bourdain, and others.  You'll even find out about the oldest surviving cookbook, mostly attributed to a first century Roman.

Some of the pages especially aimed at future chefs include:
  • Kitchen lingo;
  • Nine ways to make a restaurant more green;
  • How to survive when lost in the kitchen;
  • Know why customers walk through your door; and
  • Take it to the cooler.
Things not usually found in home cookbooks include:
  • How to calibrate a thermometer;
  • Eight ways to make a plate look better;
  • Many foods are poisons;
  • Menu-plan for leftovers; and
  • Water your oven!
There's information like:
  • Small local farms can produce more food per acre than large corporate farms;
  • Hunter/gatherers liked flatbreads;
  • Why the chef's jacket is double breasted;
  • Surprising items in a chef's toolkit; and
  • Amuse-bouche is a gift from the chef.
And there's advice like:
  • Put the inexpensive stuff first;
  • Don't hesitate to recommend a beer pairing;
  • Don't buy a matched set;
  • Shake hands with a knife; and
  • Keep guests informed.
Just like an amuse-bouche, this little book is filled with 101 bite-sized gifts from the author, Chef Eguaras.  It will be highly worth your while, and a resource you will want to keep handy.

Authors: Louis Eguaras with Matthew Frederick
Publisher: Hachette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover Book
Publish Date: May 20, 2010
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 9780446550307
Pages: 212
Size: 7" x 5"

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