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Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

 

February Is
Favorite Friends Month

by Kate Heyhoe

 

Meet some of my favorite chefs, whose generosity of knowledge and spirit permeate the food world in the same way fresh baked bread fills a home with feelings of warmth and goodness. February hosts the western world's Valentine's Day and the eastern festivities of Lunar New Year, so I focus on these four very special friends:

02/06/99—Nick Malgieri, author of Chocolate
02/13/99—Marcel Desaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate
02/20/99—Barbara Tropp, author of the Modern Art of Chinese Cooking and the founder of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs
02/27/99—Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook TV host and author.

Join me for a new look at old friends every weekend in February.

Kate Heyhoe
The Global Gourmet

 

Sweet Saint Nick

Nick Malgieri

Viewers of television's Food Network will recognize Nick Malgieri as the peppery-bearded dessert expert on Cooking Live, where he occasionally joins Gourmet Magazine's Executive Chef Sarah Moulton in whipping up sweet delights. New Yorkers know him as the chairman of the baking program at Peter Kump's Cooking School, whose culinary programs attract professional and amateur students from across the nation. And pastry and baking aficionados likely have at least one of Nick's very smart cookbooks, which so aptly explain the how-to's of these most challenging culinary arts—in just enough detail to get the recipe right, without overwhelming the reader.

Nick's special gift is his ability to translate complex processes into easy to follow guides—I only wish computer manuals were written with such simplicity in mind. He's as dextrous in his writing as he is in piping out a perfect tray of heart-shaped butter cookies, or in adorning gossamer layers of chocolate curls onto showstopping cakes. "To make the readers or students feel comfortable," Nick points out, "I like to explain what you need to do the get the recipe to work, but not add excess verbiage about theory to the recipe. Theory is important, but it's best for chapter introductions or material aimed at career training and other types of serious classes. Nothing is worse than a cookbook for consumers that belabors scientific stuff to make simple food."

What I really love about Nick is his warmth—he clearly loves teaching and sharing his knowledge with others. Even on television, when callers phone in their most vexing problems, Nick puts them instantly at ease with a smile, a joke, and an insightful response, querying them to elicit more details and encouraging them to try, try again. Years of teaching students, studying himself under other pro's, and his constant experimentation in the kitchen put Nick totally at ease as an instructor, be it on TV, in live classes or in his books.

Nick has really struck black gold in his latest book: Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers. He opens with a charming description of his first taste of chocolate at age five, a white chocolate bar perfumed with orange, handed to him by his father. Nick's subsequently blissful life with chocolate stretches from his nonna's pizza di crema to the finest pastry kitchens of Zurich, Monaco, France and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. He thoroughly but concisely covers the Basics of Chocolates, then jumps into the sweetest part of the book: recipes for cakes, cookies, mousses and other soft delights, frozen desserts, pies, confections, sauces and beverages. Not stopping there, Nick ends his show with one of the most delightful properties of chocolate: its use as a decorative medium, presenting white chocolate magnolias and intricate wreaths of roses and leaves that are lifelike enough to make Martha Stewart look like a decided amateur.

One reason Nick is such a good teacher and author is that he identifies with his students—they're not the only ones who've botched a recipe or two. "The trickiest thing about working with chocolate is tempering, which is given a thorough, doable, and totally user-friendly explanation in my book Chocolate," advises Nick. Tempering is the process of melting chocolate without having it seize up or become coated with a dusty grey finish, and indeed his instructions are the clearest I've come across.

But sometimes the best recipes are invented by accident. "My favorite recipe in Chocolate, Supernatural Brownies, came about as a result of a disaster," confesses Nick. "I was increasing a favorite brownie recipe by 50 percent to make a larger quantity in a bigger pan, and after putting the pan in the oven, I realized I had increased all the ingredients but the flour. Well, after they were baked, they were even better than the original recipe!" To err is human—but in this recipe, no forgiveness is needed.

 

Chocolate

by Nick Malgieri

About the Book
About the Author

Recipes

Hot Fudge Sauce
Lemon-Scented White Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Torta Divina: Chocolate Mousse Cake with Liqueur

 

Also by Nick Malgieri:

Nick Malgieri's Perfect Pastry

 

Join me for a new look at old friends every weekend in February.

02/06/99—Nick Malgieri, author of Chocolate
02/13/99—Marcel Desaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate
02/20/99—Barbara Tropp, author of the Modern Art of Chinese Cooking and the founder of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs
02/27/99—Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook TV host and author.

 
 

Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

 


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