...it's not just cooking, it's a whole world of creativity. You really get a lot of bang for its buck.
—Mandel Hitzer, Deer + Almond chef
Ever since it opened this year, the hip and whimsical Deer + Almond has had foodies fawning over its playful share plates.
Chef Mandel Hitzer's saucily written menu sort of defies genres, while the dishes and ambiance make one feel that they are dining in Portland, Oregon -- which, for anyone who has done some culinary touring of that city, is a pretty big compliment.
"Culinary Artistry" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (Wiley, John & Sons, Inc.)
So what cookbook provides Hitzer with inspiration for flavour combinations? Well, that would be Culinary Artistry
"It is still a book I use all the time," said Hitzer. "If you are an at-home cook or an aspiring chef and you think of an ingredient you want to use -- whether it be pheasant or chicken or lamb shank -- you can go in there and find natural pairings that might provide inspiration to take your dish to the next level."
Weighing in at nearly 450 pages, Culinary Artistry
provides the reader with an almost endless amount of information on getting things right both in the kitchen and on the table.
"It really talks about becoming a chef and creating balance and the artistic side," Hitzer said. "There is more thought put in to it -- it's not just cooking, it's a whole world of creativity. You really get a lot of bang for its buck."
"Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack" by Martin Picard
But if aspiring to new culinary heights isn't your thing, and you are more in the market for a entertaining tome on pure gluttony, Hitzer recommends you look to Montreal's Martin Picard.
"If you want a really badass, all original Canadian cookbook, then it would be Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack,
" Hitzer said. "It's like an all-round, all-Canadian, maple-inspired cookbook. It's seriously one of the most beautiful coffee table books you can get."
But if you do go with Picard's Sugar Shack
, be sure to include a stocking stuffer of duck fat. They'll need it for a couple of recipes.