The Professional Chef

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Next to their knives, the tool America's top chefs have used to learn their cooking skills The Professional Chef, the official text of The Culinary Institute of America's culinary degree program, has taught tens of thousands of chefs the techniques and fundamentals that have launched their careers. Now in a revolutionary revision, The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition not only teaches the reader how, but is designed to reflect why the CIA methods are the gold standard for chefs. With lavish, four-color photography and clear, instructive text, The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition guides culinary students--professional aspirants and serious home cooks, alike--to mastery of the kitchen. Over 660 classic and contemporary recipes, with almost 200 variations, were chosen especially for their use of fundamental techniques. These techniques and recipes form a foundation from which a professional chef or home cook can build a personal repertoire. From mise en place (preparation) to finished dishes, the book covers Stocks, Sauces, and Soups; Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Shellfish; Vegetables, Potatoes, Grains, and Legumes, Pasta and Dumplings; Breakfast and Garde Manger; Baking and Pastry. In addition to a comprehensive treatment of techniques and recipes, The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition teaches readers other critical elements of the professional chef's domain--much of it universally applicable to any kitchen. From "An Introduction to the Professional," to the identification of tools and ingredients, to nutrition, food science and food and kitchen safety, the book is a wealth of beautifully presented information useful for any cook. The Culinary Institute of America has been hailed as "The nation's most influential training school for professional cooks" by Time magazine. The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition, the cornerstone of its program in book form, belongs on the shelf of every serious cook. The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY, and St. Helena, CA) was founded in 1946. Known as the Harvard of cooking schools, and credited with having "changed the way Americans eat" by the James Beard Foundation, CIA has trained tens of thousands of foodservice professionals.


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The Professional Chef

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The Army has the M-1 tank the Air Force has the B-52 bomber the CIA has the Pro Chef 7th edition. This series of cookbooks has come a long way since I was a kid. I can remember being in my father's restaurant and he was teaching me how to cook, using recipes from his own copy of the then paperback Pro Chef 2nd edition. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the same cookbook in an airtight display in the library at the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America), like it was the original copy of the U.S. Constitution or something. Even the 5th edition I got when I went to school there seems archaic compared to this new one.

If you are not familiar with the book I am referring to, it is the main text for the culinary students at the CIA and many other cooking schools. This particular updated version is the most complete text to date. Not only does it include a catalog of over 800 recipes spanning every cooking method on the planet, it also has a very thorough product identification section. You're almost getting the USDA's meat buyers guide inside too. All the formulas for cost control and culinary math are included. The nutritional information and dietary guidelines and recommendations is very thorough.

The first 10 chapters of the book (35 chapters in all) I found to be the most valuable. It discusses in great detail various careers one could pursue once fully qualified. Careers span from the obvious choices like Executive Chef and Private Chef, to things a bit more obscure like Food Stylist and Food Journalist. Also, a whole range of front of the house opportunities is also a career option.

The photography is very clear and everything you see is in an extremely professional environment. For example, every time you see someone handling food that will not be cooked or cooked further, (i.e. salads, terrines, canapés) they are wearing latex gloves staying in accordance with the New York glove law while producing the book.

I highly recommend this book. Even if you have a previous copy, this one is over the top. I can't even fathom how they will improve for the 8th edition.


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