Mark Bittman is famous for the simple, down-to-earth approach to cooking that hundreds of thousands of home cooks know and love from his bestselling How to Cook Everything cookbooks. Now, in this companion to the public television series, he pits his relaxed cooking style against the sophisticated creations of 13 A-list celebrity chefs, such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York, Chris Schlesinger in Boston, and Suzanne Goin in Los Angeles.
The TV series and book offer tantalizing recipes for home cooks who like to keep things simple–or take on a culinary challenge. Readers may find it hard to choose. The battle plays out in the 120 recipes Mark and the chefs created together, each helping but also ribbing the other along the way. In the book, the recipes are grouped in chapters ranging from salads to main dishes to desserts. Each recipe challenge presents a chef’s special dish followed by Bittman’s simpler interpretation, including Daniel Boulud’s Lamb, Four Ways vs. Bittman’s Simple Lamb Roast and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Apple Tart Tartin with Tart Apple Ice Cream vs. Bittman’s Skillet Tart Tartin. To capture the lighthearted competition and expert cooking revelations that make the TV series so engaging, the book offers Bittman’s behind-the-scenes observations and practical cooking tips for each recipe. During this cooking odyssey, even I learned something, Bittman says. Rounding out the package are beautiful full-color photographs of finished dishes and action shots from the show.