WOW -- thanks to all for the very warm welcome! We appreciate it.
Our hats off to SUZANNE, who seems to know our books as well as we do (thank you!)...and to JON and PETE for their kind words about CULINARY ARTISTRY...and to CAPE CHEF (and JON) for theirs for BECOMING A CHEF!
As for CAPE CHEF's question about what it was like for Andrew to study with Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards...We're not sure how many people are familiar with this program, which Madeleine led for several years and which was a competitive process requiring essays, letters of recommendation, and a "market basket" exercise where the applicant had to devise recipes and a menu from a list of ingredients provided. Apparently hundreds (thousands?) of people applied, yet only four people were accepted for each two-week period of the summer.
Andrew attended with chefs Chuck Wiley (now of Phoenix, AZ), Alan Harding (now of Brooklyn, NY), and Mark Gould (of Portland, OR). The two of us lived in a small rental cottage in St. Helena, CA, and every day Andrew would spend the day with Madeleine "and the boys" (as Madeleine would refer to us) in a converted "snack shack" under a large oak tree overlooking the valley. Through lectures, hands-on cooking, field trips, and even dinners in Madeleine's home and local restaurants), I learned more about food and wine in this two-week period than in any other of my career.
Some of the highlights included seeing all four of "the boys" admitting our fear of making omelettes -- so Madeleine, of course, taught us four different styles, and then had us demonstrate each of them in front of her, as one cook observed, "Having to make an omelette for Madeleine Kamman feels like culinary bungee jumping!" While making my omelette for Madeleine, I got to run outside the shack and snip fresh tarragon to add to mine --quite a moment for a Manhattan cook!
We had even more "market basket" challenges (think "Iron Chef" without the TV cameras rolling!): We'd all taste a wine (Beringer, of course) that we'd be drinking for dinner, and Madeleine would list off a variety of ingredients that she thought the wine would complement -- then, we'd have to come up with a menu that incorporated them.
Meanwhile, Karen rode her bike around town visiting wineries, even snagging a lunch invitation to dine with celebrated winemaker Joe Heitz and his family...lots of stories about that, too! But we fear we've already gone on too long for now -- so we'll save some for another time!
Andrew & Karen