As the host of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible, chef Irvine routinely pulls off last-minute feats of Herculean culinary might, assembling multi-course meals for large groups in out-of-the-way locations with few resources. Devoted viewers may be surprised to learn that this isn't new for the British chef, who relates other close calls in this combination cookbook-memoir. Alongside tales of his time in the Navy (where he prepared a last-minute meal for 2,000 refugees) and Hollywood (a lavish post-Oscar celebration makes a nail-biting yarn), recipes for impressive dishes like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout, Truffle Oil and Shaved Parmesan Cheese and simple but flavorful Grilled Winter Vegetables with Pesto Dressing give readers plenty to think about and salivate over. Unfortunately, alternating from storyteller to cooking coach proves awkward, and his advice-""let the food in front of you speak to you and inspire you""-can be of little utility. Still, his enthusiasm is genuine and infectious, and Irvine the storyteller keeps things interesting with tales of his education, the Royal family and the kitchen at Donald Trump's Taj Mahal. Best consumed in small bites, Irvine's war stories will delight foodies, but his recipes may be too daunting for novices.
Reviewed on: 09/03/2007 Release date: 09/01/2007 Genre: Nonfiction