Want to cook like a professional chef, but not interested in culinary school? Chef Stewart Woodman and his book, Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home can help.
Woodman is a celebrated chef. Hes worked under influential chefs like Eric Ripert, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Alain Ducasse, among others. He was named a semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest by the James Beard Foundation and ran his popular Minneapolis restaurant, Heidi’s. Then a fire gutted his restaurant. Woodman was a chef without diners and he started experimenting at home, cooking for family and friends. Could he recreate popular restaurant-style meals in a home kitchen?
His answer was a resounding “Yes!” and the result is his delightful cookbook, Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home. In this highly personal endeavor, Chef Woodman offers the ambitious home cook both recipes and insightful tips, including what he calls my little friends, wonderfully essential ingredients that will bring your cooking up a notch, such as Sriracha, truffles, and different types of salt.
Woodman offers 150 recipes from appetizers like Jumbo Crab Nachos to Yukon Gold Poutine (for the uninitiated, Poutine is a popular Canadian fast food that’s essentially French fries, gooey cheese, and gravy) to salads, soups, pizza and pasta, sides, seafood, birds, meat, and desserts. Along the way, he offers instructive tips and descriptions of each dish as well as stories of his days in various restaurants around the world.
He also provides a chapter called Essentials that instructs readers in how to make some of kitchen must-haves such as vinaigrettes, clarified butter, garlic confit, and homemade mayonnaise. The book is well indexed (more and more a rarity these days) and heavily illustrated with beautiful photographs of both finished dishes and techniques.
If you’re ready to tackle some restaurant-quality dishes with an able guide along the way, you’ll love Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home. Your friends and family will be happy you did. — BH