Before Tyler Florence joined the Food Network, he cooked at New York's prestigious River Café, Auereole, and Cafeteria. But don't expect forbidding gourmet concoctions in this brightly illustrated book. Florence maintains that real food pleases the eye, excites the palate, and can be prepared by people without advanced culinary training. His first cookbook features an abundance of original recipes, notes on cooking techniques, shortcuts, and serving tips; not to mention the 80 full-color photographs. Hip, hearty, and practical.
The book is a must for Florence's fans and can provide ideas and encouragement to the rest of us. -- Reviewed and tested by Irene Sax,
In what seems to be a bid to become a U.S. version of Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, Florence (who was chef at New York's Cafeteria and hosts his own cooking show) aims for a casual attitude. While organization is loose amorphous chapters on backyard cookouts and Dinner for Two sit side-by-side with highly focused ones on making your own sushi many of the recipes themselves are clever. Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Plum Sauce features a tasty sauce made with red wine and prunes cooked until soft, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso, Orange, and Sesame would make a great snack as well as a tasty side dish. The author darts from one subject to the next and often combines flavors unexpectedly, as in Grilled Salmon with Watermelon and Black Olive Salad and Horseradish Burgers with Havarti and Tomato Remoulade. Sometimes Florence's claims that the best cooking is easy, casual and quick are belied by recipes such as the one for Blue Cheese SoufflE with Chamomile-Fig Compote that requires creation of a bEchamel sauce, not to mention the notoriously tricky soufflEs themselves. Florence's tone is light throughout, but readers may be turned off by airy pronouncements (It's often been my experience that many of the cleanest, best flavors are very simple ones) that under closer inspection are fairly meaningless. Others may roll their eyes at his off-color or immature remarks (a man of Thai ethnicity pulls out a karate move when asked to share a recipe; the flavors of a Green Curry Chicken are mental). (Apr.) Forecast: This is a decent, if unfocused collection of recipes, but never underestimate the power of television: the young, attractive Florence is currently host of the Food Network's Food 911 and will have his own show, The Ultimate, in March 2003. He has also appeared on Today, and Bobby Flay contributes an introduction. With that kind of exposure, this will sell, no matter its flaws. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Florence is the host of the Food Network's Food 911, and his new show, The Ultimate, is about to debut. Although he has worked at some of New York City's top restaurants, he has a down-to-earth approach: his recipes range from easy but sophisticated dishes like Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Plum Sauce (as he points out, "dried plum is code for prune") to those that reflect his Southern upbringing, such as Dad's Meatloaf with Tomato Relish. Recipes are organized by theme or occasion: "Dinner with Friends," for example, includes casual dishes for relaxed entertaining, while "The Cocktail Party" presents an enticing array of elegant hors d'oeuvres and a batch of drink recipes. Full-page color closeups of many dishes add to the book's appeal. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.