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Continued: Chef-driven cookbooks: a delicious adventure

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 11, 2013 - 3:31 PM

The ingredients-driven recipes are divided by seasons (winter ideas include coq au vin with black trumpet mushrooms, and roasted Kabocha squash with dates and pepitas) and the 56-page cheese glossary is indispensable.

Locally, the folks behind went to Kickstarter, raised a pile of cash ($21,995) and self-published “The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food” ($24.95) a quirky survey of chefs, restaurants, farmers, bartenders and dishes across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Reminiscent of pre-Internet zines, the soft-cover anthology surprises and delights through a pantheon of storytelling formats, including essays, rankings, illustrations, maps and graphic short stories, tackling subjects as diverse as a cheeseburger tour along St. Paul’s W. 7th St. and an appreciation of the unofficial Wisconsin state cocktail, the Old Fashioned. (Available at local bookstores and at


NYC and beyond

Two New York City restaurant cookbooks take center stage. One of Manhattan’s — and really, the nation’s — most celebrated food-and-drink emporiums is feted in “The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant Cookbook” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $35), with authors Sandy Ingber and Roy Finamore steering tourists — sorry, readers — toward dozens of classic, All-American dishes, including clam chowder, oyster pan roasts, grilled sardine salad and more. The restaurant’s fascinating history is also given a thorough reckoning.

A Brooklyn-based phenomenon comes to life in the newly released “Roberta’s Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, $35).

Co-author Carlo Mirarchi — the restaurant’s chef — covers his vaunted pizza in mouthwatering detail before moving along to vegetables, pasta, seafood, a spectacular fried chicken and desserts, all translated into home cook-friendly formulas.

A trio of formidable, lavishly appointed titles appear to have been torn from Thomas Keller’s school of legacy-confirming coffee table tomes.

Manresa: An Edible Reflection” (Ten Speed Press, $50) glorifies the glorious work of Los Gatos, Calif., chef David Kinch across 328 gorgeous pages, thanks to the eye-grabbing work of photographer Eric Wolfinger.

Back in New York City, owner Danny Meyer and chef Michael Anthony document the birth and development of a true Manhattan classic in “The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter, $50).

Both impress, but it’s hard not to bowled over the serene, sculptural minimalism of the cooking documented in each delicious page of “Daniel: My French Cuisine” (Grand Central Life & Style, $60). In your lifetime you may never prepare chef Daniel Boulud’s grouse farcie with poached quince and huckleberry, turbot soufflé or veal kidneys with black radishes, but this sumptuous, fascinating spread provides a living-vicariously portal into the rarefied world of one of the planet’s most vaunted culinary talents.


Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @RickNelsonStrib

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