For cooks who have at least the basics of kitchen craft under their apron strings, London chef and Michelin star owner Jean-Christophe Novelli offers a guide to the next level. In Your Place or Mine, Chef Novelli takes the adventuresome cook to the core of his exciting, eye-catching work, where some pretty simple techniques for enhancing flavor team up with whimsy. Any home cook who works from one end of Your Place or Mine to the other can't help but come out the other side with a better grip on the creative spark that ignites culinary fireworks. "Suivant son humeur," Chef Novelli is inclined to chant--"According to his mood." Your Place or Mine will show the home cook how to translate mood into stunning meals.
The text opens with a section called "Jean-Christophe's Box of Tricks." These include various flavor-infused oils, dressings, reductions, and powders of such ingredients as orange peel, carrots, and cèpes. There's nothing revolutionary about these tricks--they have been knocking around restaurants for the last decade. But Chef Novelli encourages the reader to take them home, stand back, and enjoy the results.
As for building a dish, Chef Novelli will take a core ingredient and build with it, like using blocks. The construction changes according to mood and whimsy. Confit of Rabbit Leg with Vanilla-Seed Risotto, for example, moves right along to the more elaborate Rabbit and Vanilla-Seed Risotto with Confit of Rabbit Leg, Rabbit Loin, and Vanilla Sauce. The initial dish demonstrates the basic technique. The second dish shows the reader how to take that technique on up to the restaurant production level.
Chapters follow a traditional path: Fish and Shellfish, Poultry and Game, Meat, Vegetables, and Desserts. Chef Novelli moves from Pan-Fried Scallops with Orange, Vanilla, and Cardamom to Broiled Lemon Sole with Bibb Lettuce and Ginger Sauce, from Roast Quail with Broiled Pancetta to Sweet Glazed Onion Stuffed with Beef Daube, from Spicy Eggplant Salad with Parmesan Crackling to Coconut Crème Brûlée. Not only will a home cook who tackles these recipes put stunning meals on the table, that same cook will also be sure to view the world of food a little differently as a result. "Suivant son humeur" may well become such a cook's catchword. --Schuyler Ingle