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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars UK Edition? Really?
The book itself is very, very good. It's well written, and there's enough advice and challenges to keep you reading (and cooking!). HOWEVER, this book despite being labelled as 'UK Edition' is written for the USA market. Courgettes are still Zucchinnis, Aubergines are Eggplants etc. One of the big selling points of the book is that you don't have to spend a fortune to get...
Published on 7 Dec. 2012 by MisterGaz

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting information, recipes disappointing
Overall, I'm glad I bought this book (though wish I hadn't got the kindle version as it's first and foremost a recipe book!) as I learned some new things from it I probably wouldn't have picked up elsewhere. However I don't really think it lives up to the claims that it makes and my experience of the recipes was disappointing.

The book consists of five...
Published on 23 April 2013 by Amazon Customer


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars UK Edition? Really?, 7 Dec. 2012
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The book itself is very, very good. It's well written, and there's enough advice and challenges to keep you reading (and cooking!). HOWEVER, this book despite being labelled as 'UK Edition' is written for the USA market. Courgettes are still Zucchinnis, Aubergines are Eggplants etc. One of the big selling points of the book is that you don't have to spend a fortune to get the kit needed to make these great meals. The VERY FIRST item on the very first recipe is a Logic LCC3 skillet combo - rrp $30. Great, I thought, that's pretty cheap just need to find somewhere in the UK that sells it.... nope, only available in the US. Amazon don't ship the item to the UK, and the only similar products I can find here are £75+. So much for UK edition!
The actual recipes and techniques the book teaches are very good, so it's a shame I can't help but feel a bit cheated. As far as I can see the only difference from the US version is that the price on the back cover is in pounds instead of dollars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting information, recipes disappointing, 23 April 2013
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Overall, I'm glad I bought this book (though wish I hadn't got the kindle version as it's first and foremost a recipe book!) as I learned some new things from it I probably wouldn't have picked up elsewhere. However I don't really think it lives up to the claims that it makes and my experience of the recipes was disappointing.

The book consists of five sections:

1) Meta-learning - about Tim's method of learning things. I am interested in education and found this quite interesting with some great examples, though it certainly leaves lots of questions unanswered. There's less than I expected about his process of learning to cook - there's a bit, but not the sort of detail I was expecting. Likewise, with language learning, it talks about reaching a moderate conversational level in a language and very little about how to move from that stage to real fluency.

2) The Domestic - this is the main part of the book. After a rather US-centric list of equipment and store cupboard essentials to buy, it consists of a plan for learning to cook consisting of 14 lessons each taking about 20 minutes prep with the idea that you do two of the lessons each week, including hosting a dinner party once a month. The general concept is a really good one but I felt it could have been executed much better. I've cooked half a dozen or so recipes and generally haven't been wildly impressed - not sure I'd cook any of them again. There was a bit of a studenty feel about them (but with sometimes quite expensive ingredients!) and the first recipe had a step missing which is pretty much inexcusable in a book billing itself for novice cooks. The recipes also follow Tim's Slow Carb diet, references to which abound throughout the book, so don't expect pasta or the like. I had to skip quite a few of the 'lessons' due to a combination of pregnancy dietary restrictions and a shellfish allergy, so unless you are pretty much omnivorous, be prepared for that possibly being an issue - less of a problem with a normal recipe book than this one where the recipes follow on from eachother as lessons. On the plus side, the recipes are in metric and I didn't find the ingredients a problem as they can be in American recipes books. The lessons are punctuated with sections on all sorts of topics from knife skills to different types of tea. There's quite a geeky feel about these and the book feels very dense with information - I learned some useful things from some of these extra sections and they made it worth buying the book. There was also some good stuff in them that I already knew from cookery courses I had been on etc. but which I imagine that most people might not know.

3) The Wild - this is a section about survival and cooking things you have caught yourself in the wild. Although there were some interesting tidbits, I found this part too specific to the US to really be all that useful (and all that talk of guns, yikes!) as the types of animals etc. you get there are totally different from those here. If you're interested in this, I'm sure you're better off buying a UK-specific book on the topic.

4) The Scientist - a section about molecular gastronomy. I haven't tried anything from this section, but it looks like a very accessible intro to the topic with stuff you can try at home.

5) The Professional - this section is essentially about making meals an experience. It reminded me a lot of The Surreal Gourmet series of books. Again, I haven't tried any of the recipes in this section - things like cauliflower creme brulee, combinations like oyster and kiwi, and roses made from bacon. There's certainly stuff that might be fun to try if you were in the mood - if I had thought more of the earlier recipes in the book, I might have been more likely to give them a go.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not a book about cooking, but......, 12 April 2013
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This review is from: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Kindle Edition)
This is not a book about cooking per se, but rather what you learn through cooking and eating. This is not necessarily the book to teach you how to cook, but it is a book about Tim Ferris and how he learned to cook. The book is unashamedly about Tim but it is easy to read, very engaging and I did learn a thing or two that have modified the way I prep and cook food. The book is entertaining if nothing else.

Other reviews have made this point, but it is worth repeating for Amazon UK customers. This book is written for the American reader. You need to be conversant with arugula, zucchini, collard greens, beef short ribs etc and find the UK name. You will not be able to source many of his recommended utensils and ingredients either as he lists websites that do not ship to the UK. If Tim Ferris has the inclination to commission someone in the UK to research and edit the book to source available produce, this would be much appreciated and I would rate five star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a cook book, 29 Jan. 2013
As a die hard Tim Ferriss fan I was eagerly anticipating his latest installment in the 4-Hour series.

The 4-Hour Chef did not disappoint.

Ferriss looks at rapid learning, using cooking as the backbone example. The book shows you how to deconstruct a skill into basic manageable components that can be applied to all manor of things.

Whilst the recipes themselves may seem random they have been thoughtfully arranged in to ease you into new techniques, pushing you out of your comfort zone whilst giving you a generous margin for error.

It's worth noting this book is perhaps 1/3rd cooking etc, 1/3rd learning skills in general and 1/3rd random Tim Ferriss stories, revelations and insights. Whilst that may sound like fancy wording for "waffle" these insights are what may reading Tim Ferriss such a joy to me.

No other book (or other media for that matter) has introduced me to so many other experiences and products. Besides a whole lot of useful (and relatively inexpensive) cooking equipment I have a plethora of additional reading material, drinks, gadgets, music, food and life hacks to explore.

In short, buy the book. You won't regret it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Epic Fail, 25 Mar. 2013
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I bought this book purely for the meta learning aspect. I was interested to find out how to learn anything quickly. The method seems quite logical. Identify the basic building blocks of the subject. Decide which 20% of them will give you 80% of the results you want. Learn them in a sequence that gives early victories and and avoids failure points.

I did wonder how you would do all this in a subject that you don't already know. The answer is to ask an expert. And not just any expert. In order to achieve accelerated learning in the subject, you need to find somebody who does things differently to everybody else.

To me, he is not teaching you how to learn the subject. He is just telling you to go and find somebody to teach you. This is what I would call a failure point since I would think that 97% of his readers are not going to do this.

I got the Kindle edition and I would say that I have gained very little from buying the book over reading the free chapter. I was very tempted to ask for a refund.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting though inconsistent-3.5 to 4 stars, 22 Oct. 2013
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I bought this because the concept-using cookery as a starting point for teaching any skill-was interesting enough.
A lot of ground is covered. First, the good points:

The recipes and anecdotes very readable, and by breaking cookery down into various chemical processes (i.e. waffles and sauerkraut=fermentation, Nutella powder and beef jerky=dehydration) and kitchen or food-based skills (using a knife properly, cutting your veg more efficiently, dressing a carcass) it gives you areas where you can pick up and learn something tangible to improve your performance in the kitchen.
This approach also uses cooking as a medium to learn other things, which is a nice use of "meta-learning"

The "lessons", which are recipes broken down into photo-essays, are pretty good, showing what the end result should look like, troubleshooting any difficult or important bits. Showing you how to prep and make seared scallops or test by sight how well-cooked your meat is makes the visual impact of this book worthwhile. A great many cookbooks include gratuitous photos because people WON'T make the dishes and just want eye candy

The miscellaneous chapters (how to memorize a deck of cards, how to host dinner parties, the key characters of Japanese) are stand-out and useful.

The not-so-good points:

The emphasis on "gear". Yes, cooking demands you be precise in terms of ingredients but why list brand-name spatulas, peelers, cloths and sauce spoons? Is he taking out ads in the book? doesn't really detract, but when you list all these products, it gives the impression that these are vital parts of the cooking. This is not the case for minor kitchen implements.
While some things are of notable quality, not all are and it detracts from making cookery easy to learn.

The things omitted: he has a page-long digression on using the hormone desmopressin as a learning aid and never mentions anything about this again. As food and learning are the key themes of this book, the author could have combined them with a chapter on diets for mental performance. Otherwise, quite an unnecessary excerpt.

The links, in a print book, to pages on his website. Why? If it was that important, why not include it, or save it for the ebook edition?

The fairly pointless points:
One lesson teaches how to make sous-vide in your hotel sink. Another chapter talks about eating 14000 calories in 20 minutes and then regurgitating it. In context, the chapter also discusses how to minimise weight gain when eating your favourite foods, but i can't help thinking a better recommendation would have been alternatives which don't stimulate you to eat unhealthy amounts?
One recipe, Coconut Cauliflower Curry Mash, is an alternative recipe for mashed potatoes containing coconut and cauliflower, which seems like an exercise in pointlessly over-complicating.
There are tea and music recommendations with every recipe. Tea is not paired with food like wine! Music? a personal choice, but conversation is better.

Some more good points:
The non-recipe stuff, which includes how to become a VIP at restaurants, how to build a shelter in the wild, make a fire, shoot a 3-pointer, and tie some pretty good knots, all round up to make a worthwhile and interesting how-to book. Ferriss has produced something pretty rare in making a guidebook that is practical, engagingly written and manages to accomplish it's avowed purpose. While I haven't yet made every recipe or learnt every lesson, it has helped me produce some dishes, learn differently and be more engaging and interesting at meals.

I recommend it to anyone who eats, learns, eats and learns at the same time, and wants to get better at either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read, 11 Dec. 2013
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Kirien Sangha (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I can't believe that I have only just discovered Tim Ferriss.

This guy's work needs to be every school, college, univeristy and work place.

I really enjoyed reading the whole book. At first, I was put off by the title, but believe me, put that aside and read the book.

The book isn't just about cooking, it's about learning and how to learn. Tim leads a very rich life and he shares many stories which I thought, brought great balance to the book.

I now read everything on this blog and will be reading his other books over the X-Mas period.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much cooking, not enough meta learning, 12 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Kindle Edition)
In a nutshell: Get it if you want to cook. If you're not interested in cooking then maybe think twice.

This book is interesting in places, however not what I was expecting after reading The Four Hour Work Week (probably my favourite book of all) and The Four Hour Body, both of which I loved. I've watched hundreds of YouTube videos with Tim and a similar number of blog posts (yes I'm a sado!). I'm a big fan of him and so I really wanted to like this book and bought it as soon as I could.

The meta learning part is interesting and I highlighted a number of tips and quotes which I thought would be useful or inspiring. This aspect was why I purchased the book and it was much, much shorter than I expected. I wrongly assumed, and perhaps this is my fault due to not reading much about the book, that this book would primarily be about learning new things and thinking differently and less about cooking. I thought the cooking would just be the vehicle to teach and it's actually more of a cook book. Different cooking maybe but cooking nonetheless and not so much general meta learning.

I'm sure that food lovers and wannabe food lovers will thoroughly enjoy this book and for them I wholly recommend it, but if you're like me and bought the book because of the last two titles from Tim and are interesting in the meta learning side of things, I would just spend a day reading Tim's blog and save money.

Kindle Note - If you read on a black and white kindle then you do miss out on a lot of colour images. If the cooking side interests you, I'd recommend getting the paper copy unless you have a fire.
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2.0 out of 5 stars This was not what I expected - just a boring cookbook with random stories here and there, 31 Jan. 2013
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I was very excited about this book as it was supposed to be about learning. I have never been very good at cooking so I thought this would be a good time to learn something about that too.

The learning bits are interesting but very short and random. The whole book is very disorganized and full of random info on this and that. This is not really a book about learning, it's just like any other cooking book with very random stuff here and there.

The most disappointing thing is probably that this was supposed to be a cook book that doesn't require you to buy a lot of new stuff to start cooking, and the recipes were supposed to be simple and easy to follow. I have a fairly well equipped kitchen and a very large grocery store nearby but this book is full of kitchen stuff that I don't own (and that are very expensive to acquire) and the recipes are full of ingredients that I can not buy anywhere that I know. So after I realized that and skipped the cooking parts, I didn't really find any good or useful info about learning in this book at all.

Oh and about the UK edition.. The only difference to the US edition seems to be that the book is not a hard cover. I don't see how that makes it a UK edition.

I have been an avid reader and follower of Tim's blog and videos since 2007 and I really liked especially 4HB, and will be reading his blog in the future too, but this book was quite disappointing.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit on meta learning is great - cooking bit less so, 2 Dec. 2012
This is a really interesting but flawed booked. It really needed proof reading as there is a huge mistake in the first recipe, which is comical as Tim spends a lot of time talking about how bad other cook books are.

What I really liked is the bit on how Tim approach the process of learning - and this is worth the cost of the book in itself. I think that most people could use the first bit and Tim's examples and take what he talks about cooking and adjust to meet their own needs.

However, when it comes to the actually how to be an amazing chef it fails to really deliver - trouble is that what worked for Tim, may not work for you; it's based on a sample size of one.

Other downsides are Tim's cross promotion of his 4-Hour Body book and his slow carb diet (which loses credibility due to Tim saying: absolutely no drinking carbs, apart from red wine (which Tim confesses a passion for - I suspect that if Tim was passionate about doughnuts they'd be OK to eat too))

In the end of the day, it's reads nicely and the first bit is worth the price of the book - just take the cooking bit with a pinch of salt.
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