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Ross School - Senior Project 2007-08

Student: William Madison

Mentor: Liz Dobbs, Chef de Cuisine

Product         

Title: East End Eats

Mentor: Liz Dobbs, Chef de Cuisine

Domains: Wellness/ Media/ English

Cooking and food have been passions of mine since I was a child. This infatuation lead me to choose this project. I wrote a cookbook in which I concentrated on local ingredients to guide the recipes. I developed my own recipes as well as gathered recipes from pertinent local sources. These people are the definition of the local food scene. Each recipe is accompanied by an explanation as to why it was locally relevant. Along with writing and collecting these recipes I tested each one with the help of my mentor, chef de cuisine Liz Dobbs. For the final part of my project, I will present several of my recipes for tasting at the Senior Project exhibition night.

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East End Eats

Abstract

I chose to write a cookbook for my senior project. I chose to write a cookbook because food and cooking have been passions of mine since I was a child. My inspirations for this book stem back to childhood when watching Jaques Pepin with my father. This led to my offbeat request of beouf-bourguignonne and Caeser salad for my bagged lunch on the first day of kindergarten.

After reading Michael Ruhman's three books on his venture into the culinary world I fell deeper in love with the subject. My biggest inspiration was and is Anthony Bourdain; after reading his three best selling exposés  on the life of a restaurant chef.

I came into senior year under the assumption that I was going to be writing a cookbook of 50 recipes, one from each state derived by me. This topic really excited me because I was going to be able to put my own flare into each of the 50 dishes. After meeting with my outside consultant, this dream was completely torn to shreds. She told me this topic was too unfocused and lacked local relevance. I was very against changing topics but I didn't really have a choice. We began brainstorming for new topics. We landed on the locally driven, straight from the heart, local cuisine topic in my final project.

Once the recipes were actually collected, I claimed my recipes were in fact, “locally driven,” this however turned out not to be the case. Setting up meetings with my local resources was quite a daunting task. My busy schedule coupled with the local sources busy lives made these meetings, phone calls, and photo-ops hard to arrange; so hard in fact, that I received one of the recipes on the final due date of the project. Thank goodness my outside consultant talked me out of the 50 state idea.

Each recipe had to be photographed due to the size of my book. Without the photos the book would have been empty and lacked a key element to food which is presentation. This task was hard because the senior building kitchen is not designed for photographing food. Liz and I both have a new respect for food photographers and understand why they are paid so much per photo.

Laying out the book was one of the easiest tasks once I figured out how to use Adobe InDesign. Printing the book was eased by the fact that my grandfather was the printer. Without him this task would have been near impossible due to the fact that I basically was moved to the front of the line on every printing job.

I was almost forced to redesign my book when the font I chose would not appear on the computer in my grandfathers office. Thank goodness that obstacle was overcome, I feel the font really makes the book “homey and personal.” This book was proofed by Liz, my mother, and my grandfather, and myself in PDF form before it went to print. Each of the three proof books were then checked by my mother and me each time.

I learned how to use InDesign throughout this process. InDesign gave me the ability to lay out and style my cookbook with ease. Prior to this project I rarely ever took care to measure or accurately time anything I cooked. From this experience I learned to be precise and care for how much goes into each one of my dishes. Coming into this endeavor my kitchen conduct and manner were cavalier to say the least. I really got the chance to hone my knife skills and preciseness with timing and quantity of ingredient per dish.

In the future, I plan on attending the Hospitality Administration school at Boston University next fall. I will take into that program the ideas of eating regionally, seasonally, and sustainable because not only does the food taste better but it's better for the environment and economy. Owning my own restaurants and/or hotels have recently become my main aspiration; not to be head chef, but to provide my knowledge and flare to an industry where these qualities define a first rate establishment.

Works Cited

Bourdain, Anthony, Jose De Meirelles, and Philippe Lajaunie. Anthony Bourdain's LES HALLES COOKBOOK: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking. New York: Bloomsbury, 2004.

Bourdain, Anthony. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. New York: Bloomsbury, 2000.

Child, Julia, and Jacques Pepin. Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1999.

A Cook's Tour. Food Network. FOOD, New York.

The Culinary Institute of America, comp. The Professional Chef. 7th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.

Dinner At Le Chef. By Frank Lenihan. Le Chef. 12 Nov. 2007.

Escoffier, Auguste, and Phileas Gilbert. Larousse Gastronomique. Trans. Nina Froud, Patience Gray, Maud Murdoch, and Barbara M. Taylor. Ed. Charlotte Turgeon and Nina Froud. Paris: Crown, Inc., 1961.

Lenihan, Frank. Personal interview. 12 Nov. 2007.

Madison, Gary. Personal interview. Fall 2007.

No Reservations. Travel Channel. TRVL, New York.

Rombauer, Irma S., and Marion R. Becker. Joy of Cooking. 36th ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1984.

Ruhlman, Michael. The Soul of a Chef. New York: Penguin Puttnam, Inc., 2001.

Community Member (Details)

Lauren Chattman is a seasoned cookbook author. She co-wrote a book about bread and created her own about ice box cakes, among several others. She lives in Sag Harbor, has a great grasp of the East End food scene. She was a chef in prominent local restaurants including Nick and Toni's. She is married to the editor of a local food magazine.