Happy in the Kitchen

Front Cover
Artisan Books, Jan 1, 2006 - Cooking - 331 pages
2 Reviews
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It's the passionate professional chef with a compulsion to explore whom we should thank for those extraordinary techniques and ideas that continually find their way into the home kitchen. Whether it's poaching in plastic or using vegetable waters instead of fat to enrich flavor, or new tricks with the inexpensive Japanese mandoline, professionals expand our horizons. And among his colleagues, Michel Richard is the chef's chef, the one others look to for inspiration. "Why didn't I think of that?" asks Thomas Keller, in his foreword to Happy in the Kitchen, about Richard's innovative technique. Michel Richard leads the way and always has—at his L.A. restaurants, Citrus and Citronelle, and now in Washington, D.C., at Michel Richard Citronelle and his newly opened Central. He never ceases to explore and his food never fails to satisfy.

Happy in the Kitchen is teeming with "Richard-esque" discoveries, whether it's an amazingly simple technique for dicing vegetables, a delicious [low-carb] carbonara made with onions rather than pasta, or a schnitzel made of pureed squid. He's playful—always—but also a perfectionist and an iconoclast. What can you say about a chef who makes risotto with potatoes, prefers frozen Brussels sprouts, and whips up spectacular chocolate pudding and b chamel in the microwave? A chef who doesn't shock blanched vegetables in ice water, but uses his freezer as though it were a fifth burner, and turns raspberries and almonds into "salami"?

Enamored of crispness, this master chef, who calls himself Captain Crunch, makes a potato gratin that is all crust and fries carrots until crisp. Always seeking to surprise, he stuffs onion shells and serves them as pasta, and he scrambles scallops and serves them as if they were eggs. But the surprise is not just in the form the ingredients take in each dish, but in the taste.

Richard offers recipes for the foods we love, but always looks for the twist that makes good things great—whether it's Lamburgers, Lobster Burgers, or Tuna Burgers, Turkey "Steak" au Poivre, or the chocolate reverie Michel calls Le Kit Cat. And with recipe titles such as Shrimp "Einstein," Jolly Green Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Faux Gras, Figgy Piggy, Chocolate Popcorn, and Happy Kid Pudding, Happy in the Kitchen lets you know you're in for good tastes and good times.

Every delicious moment is captured in glorious images of finished dishes, as well as exceptional step-by-step photographs that make easy work of slicing, dicing, shaping, and other essential hand skills. Happy in the Kitchen is a book that will make you laugh and learn, and it will delight you every step of the way.
 

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Readable Feast December 2006

User Review  - Caitlin C, Marketing - Borders

I have a confession to make: I am biased about this book. I love Michel Richard's food with the kind of passion that is reserved for unique childhood experiences forever remembered with fondness. When ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jontseng - LibraryThing

Innovative and playful. In many ways neo-Escoffian in that Richard concentrates on transforming ingredients into other ingredients (e.g. squid into pasta) rather than presenting them in and of ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Vegetables
1
Shellfish and Fish
117
Birds
177
Meats
207
Desserts
251
Basics
302
Sources
315
Acknowledgements
319
Index
321
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Michel Richard, chef of Citronelle in Washington, D.C., made that rarest of leaps in the world of food—from the pastry kitchen to chef of one of the country’s foremost restaurants. A chef who inspires colleagues with his creativity of invention, he was among the first chefs inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in American Food and Wine. He has been a guest on Good Morning America and the Food Network, and is featured regularly in such publications as Gourmet. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.

Susie Heller, executive producer of PBS’s Chef Story, has produced award-winning television cooking series and co-authored numerous award-winning books, among them The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Bouchon by Thomas Keller and Jeffrey Cerciello. She lives in Napa, California.

Deborah Jones's recent honors include Best Photography in a Cookbook from the James Beard Foundation for her work in Bouchon. A frequent contributor to national magazines, she conducts a parallel commercial career from her San Francisco studio.

Peter Kaminsky is the author and coauthor of many books, including Pig Perfect, Culinary Intelligence, Seven Fires and†Mallmann on Fire (with Francis Mallmann), and Charred and Scruffed (with Adam Perry Lang). He is a longtime contributor to Food & Wine and a former columnist for The New York Times and New York magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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