I have admitted that I have an addiction to books, so now that we're so close that we spill secrets, let me tell you another. I'm also addicted to Top Chef. I can't get enough of the show ― the cheftestants, Tom, Padma, the challenges ― I love it all. So if there is ever a lull in the series, it makes me crazy.
This summer there was a long void, and Bravo tried to fill it with Rocco's Dinner Party, which only gave me heartburn. But now we're back to my favorite Top Chef spin-off, Just Desserts.
Not only has the series created a huge television following, but it also has created a popular series of cookbooks. My favorite is The Quickfire Cookbook. A Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef is the appetizer to the show. It's usually a short, timed contest between the chefs, and involves crazy ingredients, a theme, and/or a blindfold. No matter how experienced or talented, the best chefs are tasked to the limit in the Quickfires.
The cookbook captures the pace and excitement of the show's segment, with recipes divided into chapters titled Ingredient Challenge, Time Challenge, Creativity Challenge, Technique Challenge, and Judges' Challenge.
Behind-the-scenes photos and insider information give a glimpse into how the episodes are filmed. My favorite bit describes the area where they film the show's dishes in all their glory as the "food porn" area. There are Fun Facts (like the fact that vanilla beans come from orchids), About an Ingredient (what exactly is in a Vienna Sausage?), and Useful Techniques (like how to butterfly chicken breasts).
Quotes from the cheftestants and in-depth bios showcase the best ― and the strangest ― characters from the show.
You can even create your own Top Chef at home, with tips on How to Throw a Quickfire Party, or Suggested Blind Taste Tests (that one could go very wrong).
But it's the recipes that shine. Despite the craziness thrown at the contestants, they are still able to create magic, like Sam's Tempura and Peach Sandwich; Stephanie's Shrimp, Pork and Banana Fritters; and Antonia's Poached Egg Salad. And then there's Hung's infamous Smurf Village on a plate. Oh yeah, it's in here, too. (2009 - Chronicle Books)