Il Viaggio di Vetri: A Culinary Journey

Marc Vetri, Author, David Joachim, Author, Douglas Takeshi Wolfe, Photographer with David Joachim. Ten Speed $40 (289p) ISBN 978-1-58008-888-6

More than a cookbook, this debut from acclaimed Philadelphia chef/restaurateur Vetri is a guide through the particular Italian cuisine and culture on which he has based his career. In brief memoir-style essays, Vetri describes the Lombardy taverna education that transformed a struggling jazz guitarist with a keen interest in his family’s native cuisine into the creator of what some critics have called America’s best Italian eateries. Repaying the generosity of his mentors, Vetri opens up his kitchen, too, including his signature dishes: impossibly light spinach gnocchi, sweet onion crepes and rustic stewed rabbit over polenta. Trusty sommelier Jeff Benjamin provides wine notes for each. While Vetri presumes that the reader has a fairly sophisticated palate and an expansive amount of free time to cook, Prep Ahead and Improv tips included for many dishes invite creative variations and allow for the occasional skipped step. And as exotic as veal sweetbreads with rhubarb and crispy brain Milanese might sound, dishes like a cucumber salad spiked with ribbons of preserved lemon or salt-baked whole fish lavished in a truffle-butter sauce are relatively simple. Amateur chefs may have only dreamed of having a culinary journey like Vetri’s, but with this book he has given them a reliable key to turning dream into reality. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/07/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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