The Naked Chef Takes Off

by Jamie Oliver

Hyperion, Sept., 2001.
Hardcover, 285 pages.
ISBN: 0786867558

The Naked Chef Takes Off by Jamie Oliver Youthful chef Jamie Oliver has become something of a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. The good looking and talented chef is back with a follow up to his bestselling cookbook, The Naked Chef. The naked part does not refer to the chef's lack of attire when cooking, rather, it refers to his philosophy of fresh, easy to cook, streamlined food. His philosophy seems to be working; he has inked a deal for a new series of cooking shows on the Food Network. His new book is divided into sections: Make Life Easy, Potty about Herbs, Morning Glory, Tapas, Munchies and Snacks, Simple Salads and Dressings, Soups and Broths, Pasta and Risotto, Fish and Shellfish, Meat, Poultry and Game, Vegetables, Bread, Desserts, Bevvies, and Stocks and Sauces.

The irrepressible Oliver writes with a chatty, conversational style which is hard to resist. Whether he's waxing rhapsodic about fresh herbs or detailing the perfect midnight snack after you've been out drinking with your mates, his personality shines through and his passion for cooking and for life are evident. The dishes range from the simple to prepare (Beefsteak Tomatoes, Basil, Ham and Mild Cheese on Thick Toast) to the more demanding (Braised Five-hour Lamb With Wine, Veg and All That). What is consistent is Oliver's flair with spices and flavors, for which he is deservedly praised. Most of the dishes are not difficult to prepare, but instead rely on getting the best, fresh ingredients available, as in Seared Encrusted Carpaccio of Beef, Baked Jerusalem Artichokes, Bread Crumbs, Thyme and Lemon, or Farfalle With Savoy Cabbage, Pancetta, Thyme, and Mozzarella. His pasta, risotto and bread recipes are all excellent. Once you have mastered the basic recipes for each, you can expand on them to create multiple, delicious variations. He has some delicious desserts, as well. This is an imaginative and useful cookbook which is sure to stir your creative juices.

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This review was published in the Oct. - Nov., 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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