Yay! Its another cookbook review, it seems like ages since I did my last one. Cook Like a Rock Star is a book that I was really excited to see come into print. Now I have to disclose my bias, I am a huge Anne Burrell fan, I love her way of cooking and I love her way of teaching and direction. Some of us have seen her on Worst Cooks in America, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, or most recently, The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs, which incidentally I was completely rooting for her to win.
One of the reasons why I love her programs so much is because I think she has a skill that a lot of TV chefs do not have, and that is the skill of being a master teacher. Don't get me wrong, there are some truly brilliant chefs out there who are doing amazing things, but it is obvious that they are not able to convey that skill set to us as an audience. Plain and simple if you do what Anne says, you will get a spectacular result. Chef Burrell taught at The Institute of Culinary Education, and that is evident in all that she does. She explains proper techniques, history of foods, how to make substitutions, how to be more efficient in the kitchen. Really cooking with her is a very pleasurable and educational experience. Throughout the entire book you can hear her voice telling you what to do and how to do it.
Chef Burrell is noted for doing her own thing in the life and in the kitchen, she cooks everyday in a skirt in the kitchen with her trademark blonde spiky hair. I love the nonconformity of her, this is who she is, take it or leave it. I personally like to cook in heels and vintage aprons and pearls, so I guess we all have our own way of doing things. In the kitchen Chef Burrell is all about mise en place, anyone who has seen her shows knows that this is the case. Literally it means to "put in place" or "setup", Chef Burrell is insistent on an orderly and logical work station and when mise en place is followed, not only is the work station cleaner, the recipe usually moves along quicker and easier. It takes awhile to get adjusted to the idea of setting out everything first and having things just so before even starting to cook, but you will begin to appreciate this order especially when you no longer start cooking a recipe to find out that you don't have an ingredient. That frustration is virtually eliminated.
In short, I really can't say a enough good things about this cookbook. This is the cookbook I would give to any of my friends, it works with all skill levels, but I would particularly recommend it to those who are starting out on their own and want exceptional food, just don't know how to get it. This will tell you how to get it. Step by step it will help you get a rave result and this cookbook I really feel is one that will help build your confidence in your skill sets and help the home chef to branch out and try more things. Buy this cookbook, you will use it I guarantee it.