cover image Cooking Like a Master Chef

Cooking Like a Master Chef

Graham Elliot. Atria, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-9651-2

Chicagoans know Chef Elliot from his Michelin-starred bistro, while reality show fans recognize him as the judge on Fox’s MasterChef who lost 150 pounds in one year after undergoing bariatric surgery. His debut cookbook, a collection of 100 recipes, is a match for his quirky personality. Just as he often augments his wardrobe with a flashy bowtie and stylish eyewear, he brightens up a dish with a surprise ingredient or two. There is Atlantic flounder with caramelized cauliflower and raisin chutney, for example, and pumpkin ravioli with pears and pomegranate seeds. His musicality and love of rock and roll are apparent when he riffs on short rib stroganoff with spaetzle, wild mushrooms and peppered sour cream, or a pot roast cranked up with red pepper flakes and anchovy. And when he wants to improvise, he turns to savory homemade marshmallows, adding chive-coated ones to bisques and lavender-flavored ones to pea soup. The seven chapters are arranged somewhat haphazardly, sometimes by course (“Sweet Treats”), sometimes by main ingredient (“Grains and Pasta”) and sometimes thematically (“A Walk Through the Garden”), but attention is paid to seasonality throughout, with suggestions such as accompanying tacos with mango salsa instead of guacamole when the weather turns tropical. (Oct.)