Introducing ourselves (& our books)

Joined Jul 11, 2003
We love the diversity of chefs and food lovers featured in this Forum, and are happy to introduce ourselves:

Andrew is a former full-time professional cook who has worked in top kitchens in Boston (Biba, East Coast Grill) and New York (Arcadia, Judson Grill, March), and now heads his own catering company. Karen probably knows more about food than most anyone in the world who cooks as rarely as she does.

Together, we've written five books for professional chefs and serious home cooks (and even virtual non-cooks like Karen who are avid restaurant goers): Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry, Dining Out, Chef's Night Out and (as of October 2003) The New American Chef.

Andrew & Karen
Joined May 26, 2001
Wow! Welcome to you both. Hope you find much of interest here.

For those ChefTalk members who don't know Andrew (Dornenburg) and Karen's (Page) works: run, do not walk, RUN to get them. Many of us here have recommended all four books in various parts here; they are all excellent references, well-researched and well-written:

Becoming a Chef (1995) should be required reading for all students in culinary programs, and for anyone who is considering attending school. And for those who DON'T want to go to school. And especially for those who aren't sure.

Culinary Artistry (1996) is one of the best references and source of ideas I can think of for putting together dishes and menus. Totally inspiring.

Dining Out (1998) -- Well, the subtitle: "Secrets from America's Leading Critics, Chefs, and Restaurateurs" says it all. FOH, BOH, and administration/management/owners can all learn from this one.

Chef's Night Out (2001) -- Who are the American chefs you most admire? Want to know what they like to eat, and where they like to eat it? Get this book. Terrific guide to restaurants all over the country.

No, I have no connection to Andrew and Karen, or their publisher. ;) But I'm just so thrilled to have them join us here. :D

Looking forward to the next!!
Joined Jul 23, 2002
Hi Karen and Andrew,

I have a tattered copy of Culinary Artistry in my restaurants kitchen. Whenever my brain shuts down I pick it up and refresh myself. Same with Becomin a Chef. I turn any new cook onto both of these.

Welcome aboard!



Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Glad to have you hanging out with us!!! Though I am familar with most of your books (read most of them) and have enjoyed them, Culinary Artistry is by far my favorite. In fact, it sits on the shelf delegated to my most often used cookbooks and references.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
What great good fortune for you to have found us. We'll eagerly look forward to your posts. Welcome!



Joined Apr 4, 2000
It's so nice to meet you Karen and Andrew!

As other have said before me, it is great to have you here with us. I am really looking forward to your next book!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Karen and Andrew,

Welcome to Cheftalk.

As you mentioned there is great diversity on Cheftalk.
From the seasoned pro to the very motivated foodies.

I think as you read the forums you will understand why we have so many active members,and we hope to count you two among them.

I've enjoyed reading your books,and "Becoming a Chef" is one of my all time favorites.

If you have time could you tell us a little about studying with Madeleine Kamman at Beringars?

Again welcome
Joined Jul 11, 2003
WOW -- thanks to all for the very warm welcome! We appreciate it.

Our hats off to SUZANNE, who seems to know our books as well as we do (thank you!)...and to JON and PETE for their kind words about CULINARY ARTISTRY...and to CAPE CHEF (and JON) for theirs for BECOMING A CHEF!

As for CAPE CHEF's question about what it was like for Andrew to study with Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards...We're not sure how many people are familiar with this program, which Madeleine led for several years and which was a competitive process requiring essays, letters of recommendation, and a "market basket" exercise where the applicant had to devise recipes and a menu from a list of ingredients provided. Apparently hundreds (thousands?) of people applied, yet only four people were accepted for each two-week period of the summer.

Andrew attended with chefs Chuck Wiley (now of Phoenix, AZ), Alan Harding (now of Brooklyn, NY), and Mark Gould (of Portland, OR). The two of us lived in a small rental cottage in St. Helena, CA, and every day Andrew would spend the day with Madeleine "and the boys" (as Madeleine would refer to us) in a converted "snack shack" under a large oak tree overlooking the valley. Through lectures, hands-on cooking, field trips, and even dinners in Madeleine's home and local restaurants), I learned more about food and wine in this two-week period than in any other of my career.

Some of the highlights included seeing all four of "the boys" admitting our fear of making omelettes -- so Madeleine, of course, taught us four different styles, and then had us demonstrate each of them in front of her, as one cook observed, "Having to make an omelette for Madeleine Kamman feels like culinary bungee jumping!" While making my omelette for Madeleine, I got to run outside the shack and snip fresh tarragon to add to mine --quite a moment for a Manhattan cook!

We had even more "market basket" challenges (think "Iron Chef" without the TV cameras rolling!): We'd all taste a wine (Beringer, of course) that we'd be drinking for dinner, and Madeleine would list off a variety of ingredients that she thought the wine would complement -- then, we'd have to come up with a menu that incorporated them.

Meanwhile, Karen rode her bike around town visiting wineries, even snagging a lunch invitation to dine with celebrated winemaker Joe Heitz and his family...lots of stories about that, too! But we fear we've already gone on too long for now -- so we'll save some for another time!

Best wishes,
Andrew & Karen
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Hello again,

I also was honored to be selected to attend The School For American Chefs. I attended in 1990. I was with a Chef from calistoga,a Cateror from Nevada and the lead line chef from Chez Panisse (upstairs bistro)

Just to add to what Andrew and Karen said,one of my fond memories was after developing our menu's from Madeleins list we would then go over to the Hudson House on the other side of the Rhine House to practice our menu's. We we're each given a course to exacute.At that time Gary Danko had just left the vineyard to become Executive Chef at Ch Souvrian (great chef) so we were able to travel to work with him and then sit down and reap the fruits of our labor :)

Also Tim Hanni (one of the first two Americans to become a Master of Wine)talk our wine classes and gave us Vineyard tours(in the fields)

I remember something similar to the Omellete trial,We we're each given a technique to do(mine was braise)I remember I was given a chicken,some shallots,a red pepper,chicken stock a miropoix etc.

Anyway,my bird came out perfect,but I was a bit nervous cooking for Mrs Kamman,She told me,"You have fine technique young man" well I fell in love with her right then and there.
Joined Jul 15, 2003
Andrew & Karen,

Wow! What a delight to have you here! Your books are all terrific, and I'm a HUGE fan of Culinary Artistry. In fact, it's open in front of the computer as I type this; it's a WONDERFUL reference for menu and dish planning. And it's so fun to read what the various chefs felt they needed on a tropical island.

And, there is nothing like it.
Joined Oct 6, 2002
From somone who has A.D.D., I have to say Becoming a Chef is the first non picture book I ever read, cover to cover.
Thank You and Welcome
Joined Jul 11, 2003
Thanks -- we're delighted to hear that you made it through BECOMING A CHEF! As Andrew is dyslexic, he's more visually oriented as well, and we wanted to design a book that was both fun and easy to read. We're happy to learn that was the case with you.

In addition to our new book THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF, we're excited that BECOMING A CHEF is coming out in a newly-revised edition (with great new material, including a conversation with Mario Batali on how he opened his first restaurant on less than $50,000) with even more contemporary and compelling layout and graphics in October 2003. Hope you'll enjoy taking a look at it!

All best wishes,
Karen & Andrew

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