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Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer

Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer

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by Sanford D'Amato, Bob Spitz (Foreword by), Kevin J. Miyazaki (Photographer)

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Good Stock is the story of Sanford "Sandy" D'Amato's journey from young Italian kid who loved to cook to unknown culinary student with a passion for classical French cuisine to one of the most respected chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Featuring more than 80 recipes and full-color photography throughout, Good Stock weaves together memoir and


Good Stock is the story of Sanford "Sandy" D'Amato's journey from young Italian kid who loved to cook to unknown culinary student with a passion for classical French cuisine to one of the most respected chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Featuring more than 80 recipes and full-color photography throughout, Good Stock weaves together memoir and cookbook in an beautiful and engaging package.

Sanford, the restaurant D'Amato opened in 1989 and sold to his longtime chef de cuisine in December 2012, has been one of the highest-rated restaurants in America over the past 20 years, earning accolades from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire, Wine Spectator, Zagat Guide, and the James Beard Foundation. D'Amato has cooked for the Dalai Lama and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and was one of 12 chefs chosen by Julia Child herself to cook for her 80th birthday celebration. The story of Sanford and Sandy D'Amato is in part the story of America's embrace of fine dining and its acceptance of chefs as master craftsmen.

Over the past quarter century, America has seen a rise in the prominence of "celebrity chefs," to the extent that it's difficult to remember a time when becoming a chef was considered a backup plan more than a craft. That transformation began in the 1970s, right around when Sanford D'Amato was studying at the fabled Culinary Institute of America. This was a time when American cooks were by and large being frozen out by French chefs who didn't believe the Americans had what it took to create great cuisine. D'Amato, through persistence, skill, and the help of his mentor, Chef Peter Von Erp, became the first American cook at Le Veau d'Or and worked under Chef Roland Chenus through the groundbreaking opening of Le Chantilly. Soon the heyday of classic French cuisine began to waned, as rising chefs like D'Amato began leading the spread "New American" dining.

To D'Amato, though, the Midwest always signified home. His culinary inventiveness was inspired in part by his childhood home, located above his grandparents' grocery store on the lower east side of Milwaukee. It was a small apartment constantly filled with the sights of carefully prepared delicacies, the smells of rich foods on the simmer, and the many tastes of generations-old Italian recipes. Drawing on this influence, as well as his rigorous training in classic French technique, D'Amato eventually opened Sanford in the same space his grandparents' grocery store occupied.

In telling his story, D'Amato studs his narrative with 80 of his favorite recipes. The book features both personal photos from his background and career as well as beautiful images of finished recipes.

Readers of Good Stock will come to believe, as D'Amato does, that to create great food, it doesn't matter if you're preparing a grilled hot dog or pan-roasted monkfish— what matters is that you treat all dishes with equal love, soul, and respect, and try to elevate each dish to its ultimate level of flavor. Good Stock combines Midwestern charm with international appeal as the perfect book for aspiring chefs, culinary students, and foodies everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Sanford D'Amato, his restaurant, and Good Stock:

“Sandy D’Amato always operates on two levels: homespun Midwestern cook and brilliant ‘big city’ chef; boss and mentor; partner and husband; artist and businessman. Good Stock tells you the how and why, but most importantly it will inspire readers to be true to themselves. The life lessons here are even better than the passel of recipes that are brilliant examples of D’Amato’s genius.” —Andrew Zimmern, Travel Channel

"For Sanford D’Amato who grew up in the squat brick building that now houses his namesake restaurant, living above the shop is like having people over for dinner every night, which for a chef and son of an Italian grocer, is the best way imaginable to spend one’s life. D’Amato’s food is of a bright modernity that makes this one of the most exciting restaurants in the Midwest. D’Amato has proved not only that you can go home again but that you can continue a tradition of making people very happy through your talents." —Esquire

"Sanford D'Amato has the rare gift of cooking brilliantly and authentically in many styles.... [he] has turned his family's old grocery store into a sophisticated, pale-hued dining room with an international menu and superb service." —R. W. Apple Jr., New York Times

“If you are going to get one cookbook this year, get this one. If you are going to read one memoir this year, read this one. Sandy D’Amato, a kid from Milwaukee, grew up to become one of the greatest chefs in America. This is his story: one part Midwestern Americana, one part modern American culinary history, and one part recipes that tie them both together, with a full measure of his wit and love for food and people.” —Janos Wilder, chef/owner, Downtown Kitchen+Cocktails, Tucson

"He cooked for the Dalai Lama. He cooked for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. He's done just about everything in the culinary career. And now he's written a cookbook." —Luca Paris, champion of Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games and host of A Culinary Journey with Luca Paris

“Sanford D'Amato, founder of Milwaukee's Sanford restaurant, creates a testament to his genuine love of food and a lifetime of good meals” —Saveur

"Real-life fairy-tale success stories don’t happen often, especially in the restaurant business. So when you run across one, you want to share it. The chef, Sanford D’Amato, is hailed (rightfully) as a prince among cooks." —Chicago Tribune

“A polished, entertaining read. And, like the man himself, it conveys warmth, sincerity, humility and a good dose of fun. Even a little intrigue." —The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Sanford is a restaurant with a serious culinary mission. Besides putting Milwaukee on the map, the restaurant has put sophisticated food in the mouths of Milwaukee diners to the point that they are clamoring for more. A restaurant revolution has begun in this beer-drinking-and-bratwurst-eating town. Sanford is at the center of it, and judging from the piles of press the restaurant has received, no one can get enough." —James Beard Foundation

“Even if you haven’t had the chance to meet Sandy D’Amato, or never got to eat at his incredible restaurant Sanford, this book gives you more than a taste of his talents both for storytelling (how many people can say they’ve ridden the Wienermobile through Wisconsin with Julia Child?) and cooking truly delicious meals.” —Chef Barbara Lynch, founder, Barbara Lynch Gruppo

"The stories and recipes included in Good Stock follow the interwoven threads of D’Amato’s career, personal life, love of food and learning from mentors and experiences alike." —Restaurant Hospitality

“D'Amato is able to make these recipes meaningful to the reader. The result is a warm, compelling memoir that will bubble over into home kitchens everywhere." —Isthmus

"Once again the ratings champ in Milwaukee, and surveyors heap superlatives on this “exquisite” New French run by the great team of Sanford and Angie D’Amato, calling it not only the 'best in Wisconsin' but among 'the best in the country.'" —Zagat

“Sandy D’Amato is a true master of his craft. His food is delicious, original, and precise. In this book he provides dishes that not only teach basics to the home cook but also challenge professionals. From his homey Pork Cabbage Rolls to the elegant Chilled Lobster with Cauliflower Cream and Caviar, these dishes bring readers along on the culinary journey that has been Sandy’s career.” —Bob Kinkead, chef/proprietor, Ancora, Washington DC

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Read an Excerpt

It was quite a few years before I saw Julia Child again (in person) after Le Veau d’Or—about 15 to be more precise. It was six months into our first year at Sanford, and I was a cofounder of the original American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) chapter in Milwaukee. We had planned a series of events, and the main part of the festivities, scheduled for September 4 to 7 of 1990, was to accompany Julia around the state to showcase the bounty of Wisconsin. Her first visit to the state was to conclude with the chapter’s inaugural dinner at Sanford on her last night.

After several days of stops around the state, we were humming along on the return flight when Julia’s aide, Gabrielle, called me to the jet’s window.

“Sandy—what is that?” she asked.

I peeked out. “Oh my God! It’s the Wienermobile! This is great! They sent the Wienermobile to pick us up!” I was enraptured, until Gabrielle replied, “I don’t think so.”

A flush of fear crossed my mind. Would this be the second time I missed the Wienermobile?

When I was about five years old working (hanging out) at my dad’s grocery, the Wienermobile used to make unannounced stops at local stores to promote their products. As it pulled up in front of our store, I jumped up on the front radiator to look out the window and saw the door rise. Out strode Little Oscar, all four and a half feet, dressed in his signature floppy-hatted chef outfit. He was headed for our front door when I panicked and ran screaming to the back room of the store. The rest of the neighborhood kids got a tour of the Wienermobile along with complimentary official wiener whistles. I always regretted missing my chance.

It seemed like the sun rose, as Julia leaned toward the window and said, “I think I’d like a ride in that wiener bus.” Julia, where have you been all my life? And so transpired as surreal an experience as I’ve ever had: riding down I-94 in the Wienermobile with Julia Child, as the Oscar Mayer theme song blasted through the interior and exterior speakers. We blew along with our de rigueur wiener whistles, as drivers in passing cars honked and waved.

As we pulled up to our destination, the Pfister Hotel, a large, wiener-curious crowd had already gathered, and as the DeLorean-style flip-up door rose, Julia majestically strode out— it was a vision of worlds colliding. The crowds, with their gaping mouths, surely thought this was the largest chef that had ever walked out of the Wienermobile. I think the aura of the Wienermobile even won Gabrielle over.

The most inspirational part of being with Julia for that trip was watching her passively educate everyone around her with the intuitive questions she asked. She had the enthusiasm of a food reporter and recorder, and as soon as she asked a question, I would think, Of course! Why didn’t I ask that? It is the same commonsense brilliance that any great chef has when they produce a dish that is so simple and delicious that everyone chides themselves for not coming up with it. She had an inexhaustible need for knowledge and was always learning—a consummate professional.

Meet the Author

Sanford D'Amato graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1974. In December 1989, he opened Sanford Restaurant on the former site of his father and grandfather’s grocery store. It has long been recognized as one of the most respected and top-ranked restaurants in the nation.

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Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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