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Culinary Artistry

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
As the co-author (with Andrew Dornenburg) of CULINARY ARTISTRY, which many of you have mentioned in this forum, I can attest that we're both very interested in learning more about how you use the book, as well as discovering what you like best (and least) about it.

Having used a similar approach to the subject of pairing food and drink in our latest book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, we're in the midst of finishing our next book on the subject of culinary composition and flavor compatibility, which aims to pick up where CULINARY ARTISTRY left off.

We're being hosted for an Open Forum this week on, so we hope you'll either drop by our forum or post your thoughts here. Either way, we look forward to reading them!

Best wishes,
Karen Page

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post #2 of 15
Hello. I am not familiar with your books but do have a question on the Culinary Artistry book. Is this a Garde Manger type book? Or is it a book on the artistry of cooking in general?

Rgds Rook
post #3 of 15

Descriptions of the book Culinary Artistry

Hi Rook,

Thanks for your post. It's actually exciting to learn that there are some chefs out there who are not yet familiar with our book Culinary Artistry, because it shows that there's still the potential to reach even more professional chefs with it!

Many chefs and cooks around the world have cited Culinary Artistry as the single most valuable reference book in their kitchens for its dozens of pages of listings of flavor matches, which indicate the herbs, spices and other flavorings which best enhance or complement various foods, from apples to zucchini, and from beef to venison.

Culinary Artistry is also the first book to examine the creative process of culinary composition as it explores the intersection of food, imagination and taste. Through interviews with more than 30 of America’s leading chefs, including Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Jeremiah Tower, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Alice Waters, the authors reveal what defines “culinary artists,” how and where they find their inspiration, and how they translate that vision to the plate.

It has largely been the passionate word-of-mouth praise of avid cooks* — professionals and amateurs alike — over the past 10 years that have continued to interest new readers in Culinary Artistry to this day. (You can view sample pages from the book online at

Best wishes,
Andrew & Karen

*We'll share a sampling of their comments about the book here:

"Most used cookbook: Culinary Artistry by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg."
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea, in the November 2006 issue of Chicago magazine, a month after Alinea was named America's #1 restaurant in Gourmet magazine

"If you’re thinking about the culinary field or are a cook or a chef, then you must read... Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page’s Culinary Artistry."
Stu Stein, Restaurants & Institutions magazine (July 2006)

"Anyone who cooks who's not using Culinary Artistry is either new to this business, or not in it!"
— Ken Fair, Draeger's Cooking School (March 12, 2004)

"Which flavors go best together? Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page is full of valuable advice for cooking professionals, and I highly recommend it. Food pairings are and have always been the most elusive culinary information I know of...I remember begging my CIA instructors for published resources. Unfortunately, CULINARY ARTISTRY didn't exist at the time."
Rocco DiSpirito in his book Flavor, p. 27 (Holidays 2003)

"I came across this book about six years ago when I was on a gastronomic tour of New York...I bought a number of books, but the one that stood out was Culinary Artistry. It seemed to pull together everything that was missing in my ideology of food....It is a myriad of endless flavour combinations....One particular chapter fascinates me: 'Meet Your Medium.' This chapter encapsulates all that is important to cooking....What I love about this book is the fact that it can give you a framework on which to build your own food style and, as a result, it's permanently on loan to my entire brigade!"
— John Campbell, executive chef, The Vineyard at Stockcross, (Berkshire, England) and author of Formulas for Flavour, who has been cited as one of "Britain's brightest hopes" as heir to British culinary legends Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White

"Your book Culinary Artistry is absolutely brilliant. I now recommend it to aspiring mixlogists as a key resource for understanding the ideas and theories behind creating unique flavor combinations and generally how to approach the craft as an artisan. I found when I replaced the word 'chef' with 'mixologist,' it especially spoke volumes to me."
— Ryan Magarian, Professional Mixologist, Kathy Casey Food Studios/Liquid Kitchen (Seattle)
post #4 of 15
I love "Culinary Artistry" and it is one of my more used reference books. I really love reading about how different chefs go through their creative process and refer to your flavor matches whenever I am stuck for ideas.

The only downfall to the book (if you want to consider it a downfall) is the very heated discussions this book has caused over discussions of whether chefs are artists or craftsmen.
post #5 of 15

Culinary Artistry -- and chefs as artists or....?

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your comment that Culinary Artistry has prompted some heated debates on the nature of professional cooking as an art, craft or even trade. We'd have loved to be a fly on the wall to overhear some of them!

Care to share which side of the debate you find yourself falling on?

Karen & Andrew

Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg
Co-Authors, Culinary Artistry
post #6 of 15
Hopefully, without starting this debate all over again, I am a firm believer that what we do is more trade or craft than art. Sure, there are some artistic parts to our job, but what we do is create an item over and over again to fulfill a need. I think that thinking of ourselves as "artists" puts us in danger of taking ourselves too seriously and gives us too much credit. There is no shame in being a tradesman or craftsman. Carpenters and stonecutters are craftsmen. Architechs are tradesmen (today they are called professionals) even though some architechs have created beautiful buildings that could be considered art. I am happy to count myself among these type of professions. I am not an "artist" though I have put together beautiful and thought-provoking food, at times.
post #7 of 15
Talked me into it. I've got a copy on order from Amazon.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Re: Culinary Artistry

We agree that the vast majority of professional cooks cook as a trade or as a craft. We count ourselves as very fortunate to have experienced the creations of some of the best culinary artists on this planet -- many of whom do not always cook at that level themselves. (Even Daniel Boulud sometimes grills a hamburger without any pretense that he's creating art!)

Karen & Andrew

Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg
post #9 of 15
Hello Karen and Andrew,

In 1998 (I think), one of my sous-chef introduce me to Culinary Artistry.
At that time I had finish my cooking course 2 year before in 1996 and I was a full time kitchen commis, in a 4 star hôtel.

After reading Culinary Artistry and Becoming a Chef, my passion fo cooking grew, i realized that there was so much more to learn in the field. So a year after (or maybe less), i quit My job (at over 13$/hour, full benifits) to go work in Montreal's best restaurant (for a lot of $$ ,less) where I got my *** Kicked but I also learned a lot.

When I look back, i think that reading Becoming a chef and reading and Understanding all the food matchs in Culinary Artistry, was a big part in a big career move. Your books awake in me the desire to become more than what I was.

Right Now I work as restaurant chef, in Miami Beach, where I have the liberty to write the menus the way I like it. Since I moved from Montreal to work here, i did not bring my cooking books (over an hundred) and Culinary Artistry his the one that I missed the most. It is trully a wonderfull book that could still help me out.

Of all the cooking books I have, Culinary Artistry, is the most used, pages are falling off and the cover is a pretty scratch. And it's from using it time and time again to make sure I dont make a Faux-pas when I make food Match while composing a dish. I have strongly suggested fellow worker to acquire it.

I will definetly get your new book about food and wine, maybe it will propel me to a new level again.

Keep up the good work.

post #10 of 15
One of my students insists that we use Culinary Artistry as a textbook next year!

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page


Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

post #11 of 15
First off I would like to say that culinary artistry is a great book and it lets my mind think of a little more but what I realized it didn't metion much if any about ingredients such as lavender, rosewater, beer, orange blossoms (or even apple or pear), specific nuts (pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.), and different types of woods to smoke with (hickory, cedar, pine, etc.). Just saying it would be cool to see some more of those flavors and others like it.
All perfections have imperfections.
All perfections have imperfections.
post #12 of 15
Last year I purchased your book culinary artistry,a chef friend of mine had recommended it. It lives on my kitchen countertop book stand and is in constant use.

Although I love everything about the book, the food matching section is the one that is used most of all (well thumbed and well stained).
It is the one book (of many) that I would not like to be without. Well done, And thank you.

Regards David
post #13 of 15

our regional chef belives in this book so much so that he bought a copy for each chef that attended the chef xchange for our region...great book

post #14 of 15

I own all of your books and will be purchasing the next one by pre-order if available.  i absolutely love them.

i used to keep "culinary artistry" at work, mainly for working through ideas i had for specials. the way it is laid out made it possible to find so many compatible ingredients that i wouldn't have thought of working together. i have even given it to 2 cook friends as gifts. it is an amazing resource and one that has never let me down. i have, however, switched to "the flavor bible". it is so much more comprehensive and up to date. 

"becoming a chef" is the book that really got me into reading about food and other chefs as opposed to just buying cookbooks. it truly changed my culinary career. knowing that not every chef grew up with a grandmother in the kitchen or growing up on a farm was an inspiration. i was at a point when i wasn't sure if this was the career path that was right for me. reading your book only made me want to work for it more.


please keep up all the great work that you do. i'll be on the lookout for your new book! THANKS!!!


post #15 of 15

WHOA! didn't see the dates of the posts. a little late i guess.

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