World Chefs: Grausman takes fear out of French cooking

Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:08am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Whether it is Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin or Bouillabaisse attempting classic French dishes can be an intimidating experience for any cook.

But in his new book, "French Classics Made Easy," Richard Grausman, a renowned culinary teacher, writer and Cordon Bleu graduate, takes the fear out of French cooking.

He uses his 40 years of culinary experience to demystify 250 famous French recipes and retools them, reducing the amount of salt, butter and sugar when necessary and simplifying techniques, to reflect today's hectic lifestyle, more modern palette and health concerns without sacrificing flavors.

"I consider myself an interpreter of the classics, more than an inventor," he said in an interview.

The founder of the non-profit Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), which prepares U.S. high school students for careers in the restaurant business, spoke to Reuters about his passion for cooking, the joy of teaching and making a difference in people's lives.

Q: Why update the French classics?

A: "When I started the book it was after I was teaching for many years for the Cordon Bleu and people had been asking me for a book ... People were always saying I took the fear out of French cooking. I made it easier for them, and I had to find a way to translate that on to the written page. That was a challenge and in doing so I found ways to simplify instructions ... There are a lot of things that can make it easier for the home cook and the professional when looking at the classics."

Q: What makes French cuisine so special?   Continued...

<p>Culinary teacher and cookbook author Richard Grausman is shown at the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program Benefit in this 2008 handout photo. REUTERS/Handout/</p>