On this page, noted chef Michel Richard presents his latest cookbook, including three recipes to create an unforgettable dinner: Romaine on Romaine, Asparagus Salmon, and for dessert, a whimsically-named chocolate and peanut butter treat, Le Kit Cat.
by Michel Richard
Michel Richard is a man giddy with invention. Enamored of crispness, this master chef, who calls himself Captain Crunch, makes a potato gratin that is all crust.
He makes his grits with tomato water rather than stock (lighter and fresher). He brûlées chocolate mousse, makes risotto from potatoes, and "salami" out of raspberries and almonds. He's always looking for the twist that makes good things great—whether it's his Lamburgers, Lobster Burgers, or Tuna Burgers, Turkey "Steak" au Poivre, or the chocolate reverie Michel calls Le Kit Cat.
Step-by-step photos demonstrate Richard's innovative technique that makes easy work of dicing, shaping, ruffling, and a plethora of other indispensable hand skills. With recipe titles such as Shrimp "Einstein," Jackson Pollock Soup, Chicken Faux Gras, Figgy Piggy, and Happy Kid Pudding (made in the microwave), Happy in the Kitchen's promise is good tastes and good times.
It's the passionate professional chef with a compulsion to explore whom we should thank for those extraordinary techniques and ideas that continually find their way into the home kitchen. Whether it's poaching in plastic or using vegetable waters instead of fat to enrich flavor, or new tricks with the inexpensive Japanese mandoline, professionals expand our horizons. And among his colleagues, Michel Richard is the chef's chef, the one others look to for inspiration. "Why didn't I think of that?" asks Thomas Keller, in his foreword to Happy in the Kitchen, about Richard's innovative technique. Michel Richard leads the way and always has—at his L.A. restaurants, Citrus and Citronelle, and now in Washington, D.C., at Michel Richard Citronelle and his newly opened Central. He never ceases to explore and his food never fails to satisfy.
Happy in the Kitchen is teeming with "Richard-esque" discoveries, whether it's an amazingly simple technique for dicing vegetables, a delicious [low-carb] carbonara made with onions rather than pasta, or a schnitzel made of pureed squid. He's playful—always—but also a perfectionist and an iconoclast. What can you say about a chef who makes risotto with potatoes, prefers frozen Brussels sprouts, and whips up spectacular chocolate pudding and béchamel in the microwave? A chef who doesn't shock blanched vegetables in ice water, but uses his freezer as though it were a fifth burner, and turns raspberries and almonds into "salami"?
Enamored of crispness, this master chef, who calls himself Captain Crunch, makes a potato gratin that is all crust and fries carrots until crisp. Always seeking to surprise, he stuffs onion shells and serves them as pasta, and he scrambles scallops and serves them as if they were eggs. But the surprise is not just in the form the ingredients take in each dish, but in the taste.
Every delicious moment is captured in glorious images of finished dishes, as well as exceptional step-by-step photographs that make easy work of slicing, dicing, shaping, and other essential hand skills. Happy in the Kitchen is a book that will make you laugh and learn, and it will delight you every step of the way.
About the Author
Michel Richard, chef of Citronelle in Washington, D.C., made that rarest of leaps in the world of food—from the pastry kitchen to chef of one of the country's foremost restaurants. A chef who inspires colleagues with his creativity of invention, he was among the first chefs inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in American Food and Wine. He has been a guest on Good Morning America and the Food Network, and is featured regularly in such publications as Gourmet. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.
Happy in the Kitchen
The Craft of Cooking, the Art of Eating
by Michel Richard
with Susie Heller and Peter Kaminsky
Foreword by Thomas Keller
352 pages; 225 color photographs
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created October 2006
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