Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Best of Chef at Home

If you're like me, you have a few favorite celebrity chefs that you like to watch on TV or perhaps are even lucky enough to get to see in person. And if you're like me, you hungrily gobble up each new cookbook they come up with. But I bet you never attended a launch where every single recipe was made and served!

Chef Michael Smith is one of my favorite chefs. I've been lucky enough to spend an hour or so chatting with him recently. And even luckier to get to go to Prince Edward Island, his home turf and where he's the Food Ambassador to sample some of PEI's Fall Flavours - the second annual and most awesome food festival anywhere...more than 150 events spread over 10 days. Expect the full story over at Foodtv's blog soon.

So let's talk about the launch for a second...because, seriously it's not often...if ever that you can really get to sample dishes from a cookbook before you even take it home. All 120 recipes were prepared by the student chefs at the Culinary Institute of Canada (right in Charlottetown, PEI) for 150 guests at 25 tables. Each table had its own menu and a lazy Susan where soup was in pots and the rest of the dishes in serving bowls and platters, very family style, for everyone to share. It was even encouraged to go visit the other tables and taste a sample of their menus. One word...delicioso!
So naturally, as soon as I got back home I had to try a few out myself...especially the decadent Cream of Mushroom Soup that was as spectacular when I made it as it was at the dinner.
And served it with some Frozen Butter Biscuits that were so easy and so tasty, I'm still shaking my head.
Let me tell you that my Honey...who really does love my cooking said that the Tuscan Steak Salad was the best meal he's ever eaten and I tend to agree.

One thing I particularly love about the Chef at Home Series, is that each week, Michael Smith doesn't follow a recipe per se, he helps us understand what works well with what and takes a lot of the mystery out of the cooking process. His new book continues with that theme. Each recipe ...don't worry, there are real recipes...has a stunning full page photo of the dish to give you a droolingly delicious perspective of what it will look like. And each recipe has an intro giving his own take as to why the dish is special and a "Freestyle Variation" paragraph that provides a little history about the dish, along with some alternative ingredients.

Up next...perhaps a vegetarian dinner or two to combat all that richness of the Mushroom Soup and all the other goodies I ate in PEI...Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry sounds enticing as does the Moroccan Couscous and Chickpeas. This is definitely one book that will be used often.

1 comment:

Helene said...

I was reading about the launch of his cookbook. I wish I was there. Can't wait to get it.