Read it: Culinary Artistry
Hey everyone I hope all is well out there in the culinary world. I know its been a while since I’ve done a book review and I’m hoping this article will be able to shed a new light on a book that I try to live and die by. It is honestly one of the greatest books, when it comes to ingredients and advice on dishes. The first time I came across the book “Culinary Artistry” was when I was attending the local hospitality college back in my home country of Antigua and Barbuda. I had a really close friend who I felt was a bit further ahead of me in the culinary field when it came to food memories and imagination. He introduced me to the book. It felt like a shining light came from the heavens as I held it - the key I needed to help take a step forward. As I flicked through there were so many ingredients I knew nothing about and immediately felt a jolt of motivation and love for my new discovery. Eventually I got my own book, given to me by my grandmother. I felt like no one could stop me now.
It’s a soft cover book written by Andrew Dorneburg & Karen Page, and is at least 20 years old. But I would advise you to always keep it nearby. It talks about being an artist, choosing a medium, understanding flavors, combining flavors and much more. There is a wealth of information in here from a few chefs, who give a quick reasoning behind a dish or a menu. This way you have an understanding of why everything was done or the logic behind it. From this book your brain could instantly start getting ideas and techniques. It doesn’t limit you to a specific technique with a meat or cuisine, but shows you how versatile one can be in this field.
I remember reading a section where one chef, Patrick O’Connell, understood that you can’t just serve barbeque pulled pork in a restaurant and charge people any amount of money. So instead he took a boneless rack of lamb and barbecued it and made his own twist.
Your ability to create is only limited by your imagination and curiosity. If you already have a curious mind, then get to reading. I take little markers and tag pages that I like or don’t want to forget. If there is an ingredient you can think of the book usually has it. Being about 20 years old, there have been a few ingredients I haven’t been able to find, but I can count on both hands how many times that has happened since I’ve owned the book. Also, if you can’t find it in the book just look online. Once you have this book you can make your own notes on the side of a page if you have an idea that you should jot down. At the back of the book is the long index, you will find that some ingredients will have multiple page numbers. That’s because some ingredients have a sub category called “accompaniment”, or they are mentioned in a recipe. I can guarantee that you will find your ingredient though.
I think the book is awesome and I am hoping one day that there will be a new issue with more ingredients added to the list.