the appetizer:

The first cookbook by one of America's top contemporary chefs, A Great American Cook by Jonathan Waxman, features recipes like Asparagus with Oranges and Hazelnuts; Sesame-Crusted Goat Cheese Cakes On Greens; and Sesame Grilled (or Broiled) Quail with Shoestring Potatoes.

Cookbook Profile

A Great American Cook
Recipes from the Home Kitchen
of One of Our Most Influential Chefs

by Jonathan Waxman

A Great American Cook
Click to buy A Great American Cook


To Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Thomas Keller, Bobby Flay, and other movers and shakers of the food world, Jonathan Waxman is a culinary giant who helped invent contemporary American cuisine. His exuberant style "set the high agenda of New York dining" [New York Times) and ushered in a new spirit of excitement in food.

A Great American Cook: Recipes from the Home Kitchen of One of Our Most Influential Chefs is Jonathan Waxman's first book, and it is as timeless and inspiring as his career. Every page shows the confidence born of years in the kitchen, with spirited French- and Italian-influenced dishes that are utterly American in their unpretentiousness.

The book charts the emergence of American food in its own right and Waxman's own coming-of-age in the kitchen. The dishes reflect the inspirations of the many strands of Waxman's story. His years as a professional trombonist (Bacon and Gruyere Burger with Guacamole). His travels through France as a twenty-something in a dilapidated Opel (Asparagus with Oranges and Hazelnuts). His apprenticeship under eminent French chefs (Salmon with Roasted Garlic Cream). The heady excitement of the Chez Panisse kitchen (Red Pepper Pancakes with Corn and Caviar). Exuberant nights at Jams in New York City, where he improvised with a couple of Weber grills (Grilled Chicken and JW Fries). And perhaps most significantly, his eventual "taming" as a husband and father (Turkey Breast Milanese, Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Spicy Clams).

A Great American Cook presents Waxman's finest dishes the way he makes them at home. Crispy Chicken and Goat Cheese Burritos. Pizza with Bacon, Scallions, Parmesan, and Tomato. Shrimp BLT. Late-Autumn Vegetable Casserole. The combinations are simple and unexpected, exuberant but down-to-earth. Many dishes juxtapose contrasting flavors and textures, pairing cool beef carpaccio with warm potato salad, or crab cakes with crunchy slaw.

Waxman has mentored hundreds of chefs on both coasts. And now, no matter where you are located, you can join this enlightened crowd of instinctual cooks. As Jonathan says, "Let your ingredients do the talking, lighten up and enjoy yourself!"

About the Author

Jonathan Waxman grew up in Berkeley, California, studied political science and wine making at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a professional trombonist. He apprenticed in France, was chef for Alice Waters's Chez Panisse, and opened a succession of famous restaurants in New York. He is chef-owner of Barbuto, an Italian bistro in the West Village, and West County Grill, in Sonoma, California.


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A Great American Cook



This page created January 2008