In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking With Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant

by Jody Adams & Ken Rivard

William Morrow, January, 2002.
Hardcover, 374 pages.
ISBN: 068816837X

In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking With Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant by Jody Adams & Ken Rivard "The shortest route I know to human happiness is cooking. I'm announcing my intention up front: to seduce you into spending more time, not less, in your kitchen." So states Chef Jody Adams of the famed Rialto restaurant in Boston in the introduction to her book, In the Hands of a Chef. Arguing for artisanal home food, or food made from scratch, Ms. Adams is a strong proponent of real food, lovingly prepared.

This in-depth cookbook covers everything from appetizers, stocks and soups and vegetables, to pasta, pizza, poultry, seafood and beef. Some desserts are included, although they are clearly not the focus of the book. Adams knows her stuff, but many of the dishes are actually fairly complicated for an amateur cook to replicate at home. This is not simple food, but rather delicious, complex food which is well worth the few minutes of extra prep time and a short learning curve.

Penne with Shrimp, Artichokes and Feta, Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Herbed Ricotta, Braised Rosemary-Stuffedd Lamb Shanks with Roated Fennel and Red Onions, and Spaghetti with Maine Crabmeat, Toasted Bread Crumbs and Garlic are a few of the simpler dishes which are sure to impress any dinner guests with their robust and complex flavoring. Sprinkled throughout the book are fascinating tidbits about the life of a chef, as well as Adams' opinions on food and life in general. Her comments about chicken and other poultry are especially interesting to any cook who has been at her wits' end trying to find yet another way to make chicken interesting, as are her other insightful comments about everything from sweet potatoes to how to roast peppers. There are photographs of some of the dishes placed in the middle of the book: with this quality of cooking it would have been nice to have more photographs, preferably next to the dish being shown. Altogether, this is an excellent addition to the kitchens of intermediate to advanced chefs and will make fascinating reading for any food lover, regardless of his cooking abilities.

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This review was published in the May, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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