Teachings from Chefs’ Menus for Home Cooks

Today’s restaurant menus read like grocery lists. Descriptions, even prepositions, are edited out. Steak isn’t “served with.” Peppers aren’t piled “on top of.”  It’s this elemental style, which makes restaurant food seem sparse, unfussy, even when it’s not. In clipped phrases, chefs can be coy, even subversive: Are we to think “mushroom, toast, arugula” is a sandwich or salad? With fewer details, we’re reminded that ingredients—and the chefs that play with them–hold all the cards.

Denver chef Paul Reilly's terrific menu at Beast and Bottle

Denver chef Paul Reilly’s terrific menu at Beast and Bottle

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Who Says a Cookbook Needs Photos?

Diana Vassar’s illustrations have made Purple Kale Kitchenworks’ course packets and newsletters worthy of wall display. I’ve been asked to show her work on aprons, t-shirts, and posters. All this is likely to come, but first–the book.

Here, I’ve shared with you some of the illustrations we’re putting together for our upcoming cookbook. It’s a sneak peak at the treat you’re in for. Who says cookbooks need photos? Click here to read more »

Candy in Quinoa: Seeing Like a Cook


Much of my teaching and writing illustrates specific techniques for cutting food prep and production time, and that makes sense–it usually isn’t possible to carve out more time within your busy schedule to cook at home.  So I help you find space for cooking more efficiently, within the preparation of each meal: washing not just whatever lettuce you need for a salad, but the whole head; cutting onions not just for one meal, but for several.  But this efficiency, though helpful, isn’t actually what makes you a better, more nimble cook. For that, you need a new point of view.

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