James Beard Award-winning and self-made chef Naomi Pomeroy’s debut cookbook, featuring 95 lesson-driven recipes designed to improve the home cook’s understanding of professional techniques and flavor combinations in order to produce simple, but show stopping meals.
Combining elements of Julia Child’s classical aesthetic and ambition to teach the world how to cook with Naomi Pomeroy’s own unique history, style, and verve, this book is an inspiring guide for home cooks who want to up their game in the kitchen. Pomeroy demystifies professional techniques by paring back complex recipes to the building blocks necessary to create them. Her “master lessons” approach will appeal to home cooks of all levels who want to improve their skills. And her nurturing, self-deprecating tone is a welcome change from the ethereal fine-dining tomes that home cooks can’t actually cook from or the snapshots of a specific restaurant meant to celebrate the chef’s cult of personality. Beginning with sauces, and working from straightforward to more complex recipes, Pomeroy presents a collection of dishes you want to eat every day, including salads, vegetables, fish, pork, meat, and desserts–along with the tools and techniques you need to make each meal shine.
The first thing I noticed and liked about this book is the abbreviated history of the author including her path to becoming a chef and of both her business successes and failures, I like to know a little of the road people have travelled.
In the informative “How this book works” section Chef Pomeroy explains her cooking philosophy in a down to earth workmanlike way, from the building blocks of technique to how the mood you take with you to the kitchen can affect the taste and quality of the food you produce.
It has an easy to read layout, divided into sections with each section having a little “menu” of contents so the reader can easily see the recipes at a glance.
The techniques are built in to each recipe , a good example being the very detailed instructions for making consommé, a long and many staged process, but if you can master it you will learn some very useful techniques. However, many of the recipes are what most people would consider to restaurant standard and a little too challenging. Nevertheless, ambitious home cooks will find plenty to challenge and inspire them.
As for myself, I discovered a couple of recipes that I will certainly be trying, one being for aioli with variations. Another recipe I thought I might manage is Classic French Onion soup. I thought that the cabbage veloute with lemon confit creme fraiche and herb oil would be a bit too difficult and fancy for my taste!
Other useful sections include the choosing of equipment, a handy pantry guide and a most excellent glossary of techniques.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in food, even if the recipes are not exactly everyday cooking, there is something of interest for every food lover, no matter their level of expertise.