It is time for the Cook the Books roundup and I can only say one thing: Tony really missed out! Because, as you will see for yourselves, our contestants made some really yummy dishes. I would like to thank you all for participating and I wish you good luck!
Heather from Girlichef , bookworm and professional cook, was inspired not only by the book itself and by Tony as a tongue-and-cheek tv-persona/traveller/I-can-eat-anything kinda guy. She actually remembered a very interesting incident that happened to her during an apprenticeship in an up-scale restaurant: so, she cooked us some beef TONGUE!
Foodycat, winner of previous Cook the Books, admits that she loved the book, but would never become a professional chef (I actually sympathize with that). Having a hard time deciding what she should cook, she settled for something wholesome and filling, inspired by Tony’s early days and his dealings with the mob. So, she made some mouth-waterng gnocchi.
Maria from Organically Cooked admitted that she didn’t know much about Anthony Bourdain, as she has been living in Crete (Greece) for the last twenty years. She was shocked to read that so many professionals in the restaurant business, have no love for food at all and are just misfits that do it for a living, but having to work in her parent’s fish and chip shop in New Zeland as an adolescent she understood a lot of the pressure involved. Maria is a traditional cook that believes in locally sourced ingredients, but she mainly cooks with love and has no real interest in “fine dining”. So, she was inspired by Tony’s interest of non-restaurant food and made us some finger- licking buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing. Yummy!
Natashya from Living in The Kitchen with Puppies made a home-y style dish for Tony: pasta pomodoro. She quotes Bourdain admitting that when he doesn’t cook in the restaurant , he needs “clumsy” food made with love by someone at home, a mother or grandmother, as “all of this is pure exotica to me”.
Simone from Briciole decided to make sugo di pomodoro, or fresh tomato sauce, inspired by a paragraph in the book when Tony admits that, although he didn’ t like Italian food, he was impressed by Le Madri restaurant, where everything was made fresh from scratch. Simone was herself used to fresh, home-made tomato sauce, and used the sauce to make lasagna.
Joanne from Eats Well with Others, also didn’t know anything about Anthony Bourdain before reading the book, despite the fact that she lives in the States. She was inspired by his candour and by his refusal to compromise his beliefs to please others and she would like to become the chef that Tony would admire. Joanne cooked a lighter version of the Coq au Vin and served it with egg pasta.
Judy from Judy’s Gross Eats made a very unusual dish, mentioned in the book towards the end of the Mission to Tokyo trip: Mongolian hotpot, a dish very similar to fondue! Kitchen Confodential is not only her favourite book, she owns a first edition signed copy too! Lucky girl!
Suzie from Munch and Nibble read Kitchen Confidential for the second time and loved, most of all, the little details she noticed as well as Tony’s tips on what to avoid in restaurants, one of which is mussels. So, she decided to cook them herself, in a traditional way (mariniere) so that she won’t have to worry about what she is eating.
Arlene from The Food of Love admits that she likes Bourdain’s “raunchy” style, but she could never be able to do this type of job for a living. However, she has had some first-hand experience of this type of thing, as she has workedas a waitress for restaurants that had misfits for “chefs”. Using a Bourdain recipe from Les Halles cookbook, she made no-nonsense fried potatoes dedicated to the no-nonsense guy Anthony is. Good choice!
Franchise Me, the only Greek contestant (apart from myself of course), decided to cook something that is in essence traditionally Greek, but gave it a new twist: cabbage rolls stuffed with seafood. He notes that Tony loves these combinations of new and old as well as home-cooked food, and I actually agree!
Deb, from Kahakai Kitchen,and one of the three Cook The Books gals , enjoyed, like all of us, the way Tony talks about “the business”. However, she was inspired by something far more sentimental: Tony’s first trip to Europe. On board the Queen Mary Bourdain tasted Vichyssoise (the French cold leek and potato soup) for the first time and was so impressed by this dish that it marked him forever. To quote Deb: pretty powerful for a bowl of soup.
Rachel from The Crispy Cook , also a Cook the Books gal, decided to make a Spring Vegetable Navarin, inspired by the complicated vegetables that garnish a lamb navarin mentiones by Bourdain in the book. Her vegetable stew turned out really fragrant and she is convinced that even the meat-lover Tony would like it!
Finally, I (FoodJunkie) made some sourdough bread, inspired by the chapter Adam, last name unknown. Tony really valued good bread at his restaurants and went so far as to hire the weirdest baker in New York, but also the best: Adam. The real reason I made this bread though was the quote: feed the bitch or she will die! It still makes me laugh! Just remember though that my entry will not be judged as I am the host.