Nina's Reviews > Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced by Jonathan Dixon
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's review
May 09, 2011

really liked it
Read in May, 2011

Dixon is a good writer. The book presents an insider view of life at the CIA, and he describes it well. He's an older student, and his colleagues call him Gramps...applies himself hard, and makes it to graduation, which a lot of folks don't achieve.
At the end of the book, he pretty much admits that he doesn't want to work in a restaurant, maybe he'll be a caterer, and anyway he really went to the CIA so he could write a book about it. Not a bad idea, in light of all the food books coming out, like Gabriel Hamilton's self-referential, braggy book.
Again, with this type of book, I wonder how he remembers the exact quotes and conversations he had with people...and the book seems like a sort of revenge against Floyd Cardoz, the owner of Tabla and the author's tormenter during his externship.
The culinary education at the CIA did sound pretty comprehensive. Maybe if I was thirty years younger...not. The book would have been better if he had put in more recipes, like his little brief on roasting a chicken. Oh well. It'll probably be on the best seller list along with Hamilton's book.
I got a kick out of him writing "bains-marie" and not "bain-maries". Kudos on the French. Recommended to foodies and an interesting read.
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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Nina--

Very sorry I wasn't able to include any recipes in my book. But maybe you'd like this one, a very simple glaze for barbecued chicken:

Apricot-Sriracha Glaze

1 shallot, minced
½ C Vermouth or White Wine
1 sprig thyme
4 – 6 ounces good apricot preserves (not with corn syrup)
1 t Sriracha (or more to taste)

1. Place the shallot, vermouth, and thyme in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil, and reduce by 2/3rds.

2. In a food processor, blend the preserves until smooth; if you need to, add just a little bit of water to help it along.

3. Combine the preserves and wine reduction; discard the thyme sprig. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the Sriracha last and mix well.

This glaze is perfect for grilled chicken, brushed on just a few minutes before the chicken is done so the flavor will develop but the glaze won’t burn. Sriracha is a Thai chili paste that’s found in Asian markets and most grocery stores.


Jonathan Dixon

Nina Thanks, I will try this. I have Srirachi in my pantry. Since you were so kind as to send this, I'll revise my review. You're obviously not a jerk.

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