Photo Credit: Clarkson PotterSometimes it can be a bit hard to respect the television chef. Bobby Flay has made a name for himself flashing his impish grin and turning up the heat on a variety of shows. Even though Flay competes on Iron Chef regularly, proving he's got the chops, he has a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield problem: love he gets, respect is harder to come by.
His latest cookbook, Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook won't do a lot to cement his reputation as a genius of modern cuisine; instead it provides solid fare laid out restaurant-menu style. His food isn't for the delicate, the calorie counter, or the meat-averse. His recipes are updates and revisions to classics and provide quiet revelations. Flay's favorite ingredients like tomatillos, peppers and corn, and his preference for the smoky, roasted and grilled are familiar to anyone who has eaten in any of his restaurants.
There's nothing too inaccessible in Flay's creations. The preparations are mostly simple and don't require special skills or equipment. One could easily take this book and open a popular restaurant right down to the homemade barbecue sauce and spicy pickles. There is even a 'Kitchen Essentials' section at the back of the book that can serve as a shopping list if you are really interested in creating the full Flay pantry. Because it is a restaurant book there isn't much deference to the needs of the home cook who may be facing issues of economy or the need to adapt recipes to suit certain needs.
The reason to love this book is the sauces. From chutneys to salsas to a glaze that requires a whole bottle of Zinfandel, Flay takes the classic French love of all things sauced and gives it a uniquely American spin. As befits a celebrity chef's cookbook, there are plenty of well-staged photos of Flay in action.
He cuts a handsome figure but anyone using the book to cook might wish for a few more pictures of the food instead. But for fans of Flay this is the next best thing to a table at Bar Americain. Go to Amazon.com to purchase.