Question about restaurant cookbooks

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Joined Nov 20, 2015
New to cheftalk and I had a question. I know there's a cookbook forum but it doesn't seem very active so I thought I would ask on here. There seems,to be a lot of restaurant cookbooks and I was wondering how accurate they are. Have you ever worked at a place that published their own cookbook? Will the recipes yield something that is ballpark of the actual restaurant dish?
 
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I would say ball park yes. The real problem with restaurant cookbooks is the availability of ingredients and equipment. Not everyone has access to rare cheese or immersion circulators.
 

phatch

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There's a wide range of instruction quality and often little testing.

Many of these cookbooks assume a higher level of cooking skill and understanding than many home cooks have. So the instructions might be very terse and assume things.

Another flaw I see too often is that the recipes weren't tested for the home environment. The timing often assumes the higher heat output of the professional equipment. Or the recipe is just scaled down to home cook sizes but never tested to see how the recipe actually turned out. Many recipes don't scale as linearly as you might think. 
 
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I've never worked somewhere that has published its own cookbook, although I have worked in a hotel where the head chef added a recipe to a book published about regional restaurant dishes in Cornwall.

(In that case it was a bit of a mish-mash book, but the recipes were honest and would easily work in a home environment).

In my experience of scouring books from the real fancypants places for ideas is that yeah, they generally assume a high level of cooking experience and knowledge, and they're also not so suited to home kitchens with their equipment requirements.

For an experienced chef able to try a recipe, and look at something that's not quite right and figure out how to fix it with their own equipment fair enough.... but for dear old Mabel getting the book for xmas probably won't do much for her dinner plate.

Books from high level restaurants are basically just food porn to make the rest of us heathen crywank over them.

:D
 
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I can tell you without reservation that trying to duplicate a restaurant cook book recipe or a celebrity Chef's recipe is very difficult to do in a home setting.

A lot of forethought must go in to each step in the recipe and sometimes the home kitchen simply cannot duplicate what is necessary to make the dish.

Issues like a home oven vs. a commercial one, availability of ingredients, freezer space and refrigeration issues too.

Sometimes ingredients are left out of the recipe or technique is assumed.
 
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