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In Progress: Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

It's either a brilliant idea or a cynical ploy; compile recipes from 11 of the Food Network's most popular chefs into one handy volume: Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs. (The 11 chefs are Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Dave Lieberman, Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis, Mario Batali, Michael Chiarello, Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence, and Wolfgang Puck. They're all listed on the "Contents" page by their first names only -- Alton, Bobby, Dave, etc. Because they're STARS! Like Madonna! Or Cher! Heh.) On one hand, it might be nice to have the cream of the crop all compiled together in one book, but on the other hand, will the recipes suffer from being out of context? And if you already own a few of these chefs' books, is there a good reason to buy this book?

My first pass through the book shows that it's definitely playing up the "star" aspect of the Food Network system. There's a breathless Q&A page in front of each chef's section with fluffy questions like, "Who taught you how to cook?" If you've already guessed that the answer, without fail, is "My mom/dad/grandma/aunt," give yourself a prize. The typography is dreadful; the instructions are in very small, hard-to-read type, and there's a blurb on many of the pages with a "Note from the Kitchens" that's printed in all-caps, sans-serif type centered on a very narrow vertical column. Whoever designed this book thought it sure looked nifty! Too bad it's almost impossible to read.

But the real test is how well the recipes work, so here we go!

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.