The Confident Cook (Hardcover)

Basic Recipes and How to Build on Them (Picador Cookstr Classics)

By Irena Chalmers, Anne Willan (Foreword by), Robert Graham Penny (Illustrator)

Picador, 9781250146274, 272pp.

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Anyone who can understand the reasoning behind basic cooking techniques can become a creative, relaxed, and confident cook. Chalmers takes the would-be chef through how the addition or substitution of a few ingredients can transform a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece.

The Confident Cook, invaluable to experienced cooks as well as to beginners, demonstrates that in fact there are only four or five basic methods of cooking food. Once mastered, these basic methods can be used with many different ingredients to create countless dishes. Chalmers shows how beef stew, braised veal, coq au vin, and a vegetable casserole, for example, are similar in their preparation; how a simple beef stew can become a hearty Mulligan, a Belgian carbonnade, a French boeuf bourguingnon, or your own less classic invention. More important, she shows how you can whip up something delectable from whatever supplies you have available without being tied to a recipe with specified ingredients.

About two hundred recipes are given with logical and practical directions, and some seventy-five original line drawings clearly illustrate each technique and some of the finished dishes. But the heart of this book is the information that makes it possible to dispense altogether with recipes and to start experimenting—confidently and successfully—with your own creative cooking ideas.

About the Author

IRENA CHALMERS established her own cooking school in Greensboro, North Carolina after studying at the Cordon Bleu School of Cooking in Paris. She has appeared on numerous television programs and has given lectures and cooking demonstrations around the country. Chalmers has written more than eighty specialty cookbooks that are sold both here and abroad, including The Confident Cook and The Great Food Almanac.

 ANNE WILLAN is one of the world’s authorities on French cooking with more than fifty years of experience as a teacher, cookbook author and food columnist.  She founded Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in 1975. Her most recent books are The Cookbook Library: The Cooks, Writers and Recipes that Made the Modern Cookbook, with her husband, Mark Cherniavsky, which won the Jane Grigson Award for outstanding literary writing, and The Country Cooking of France, which took two James Beard Foundation Book Awards.  Willan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2013 for her body of work.  She lives in Santa Monica, California and in France.