Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: 65 Great Chefs Teach Me How to Cook by Dana Cowin
(Ecco, 2014, 272 pages)
Dana Cowin is the editor-in-chief of Food+Wine magazine and you’re probably familiar with her face from appearances on shows like Bravo’s Top Chef. This cookbook offers up a collection of recipes that Cowin has tried and made some mistakes in execution in the process. So she pulls those recipes and asks some of her famous chef friends to walk her through how to avoid making those mistakes again, along with any tips they might have for modifying the recipe. She has commentary from people like Tom Colicchio, Mario Batali, Alex Guarneschelli, and Marcus Samuelsson.
Each recipe is introduced with a story explaining the context in which the recipe was originally made by Cowin and what went wrong in the process. The cooking instructions are clear and straight-forward. None came across as overly complicated. And the chef’s tips made sense and encouraged you to embrace the cooking process as a whole. This is an accessible book that a novice cook could feel comfortable with. Not all the recipes were for me, but there were a lot in there that I would try – even some that I currently find intimidating. Cowin makes a point of saying recipe intimidation shouldn’t keep you from trying something new.
I love a readable cookbook and that’s what this is. If you’re a novice in the kitchen or are just interested in well thought-out cookbooks I think you’ll appreciate Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen. That being said, one of the most readable cookbooks I’ve come across recently is Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn. Just in case you wanted to check that out, too 🙂