Those who are already fans of David Burke's spectacularly popular New York restaurants--davidburke & donatella and David Burke at Bloomingdales's--will rejoice in this personal and detailed cookbook which turns American classics into haute cuisine. Choosing thirty-seven standard recipes, from pot roast to roast chicken to meatloaf, Burke applies his personal touch, creating gourmet fare out of standards, at the same time that he updates these selections, creating a second, more modern recipe, before then creating a third recipe for "second day fare"--leftovers, in other words. Posting one hundred seventeen recipes organized into thirty-seven groups of three recipes and one group of six recipes, Burke gives new life to American favorites and their variations.
Burke is a creative and imaginative chef, and the recipes and their photographs reflect this. As a professional, Burke uses these recipes as his mainstay, and their preparation is his joy. If you are a dedicated "foodie" with plenty of time, the desire to spend that time in the kitchen, and the metabolism that allows you to digest extremely rich foods, then this cookbook will be one that you treasure. Recipes for duck, partridge, pheasant, and quail exist side by side with those for barbecued chicken, spareribs stuffed with asparagus and served with corn crepes, and salmon "leaves" cooked with shrimp, grapefruit, and basil. The preparations are clearly described, the recipes are exact, and the list of ingredients, with sources, is clear.
This cookbook is not for everyone, however. The recipes are all very labor intensive, often with many time-consuming steps and separate preparations on the way to one spectacular meal. Frequently, one recipe will depend on your having leftovers from another preparation, and you are on your own if you do not have these. Most of these recipes are not make-ahead recipes, requiring significant time in the kitchen for preparation before presentation, a limitation if the chef is also the host/hostess, and some ingredients--quail eggs and salmon pastrami (for which there is a recipe), for example--are not readily available in the corner supermarket.
Finally, these recipes are heavily dependent on lots of butter, eggs, cheese, and heavy cream--all delicious, but loaded with saturated fats, and no substitutions are suggested. A fantastic cookbook for those who love to cook and who can tolerate an extremely rich diet, David Burke's cookbook will keep you enjoying interesting and imaginative foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if you have the time to make them. Mary Whipple