Showing posts with label Quentin Villers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quentin Villers. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2019

"Accessible Fine Dining" by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen
by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers

Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers

Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with chef Quentin Villers, is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. You can also read my review. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as “25 dishes to travel around the world”, featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.
Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.
For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.
The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.
We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.
If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.

Book Video


Excerpt
Introduction to Accessible Fine Dining
Creating exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients.
The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.
For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.


Praise for the Book
“This book is inspiring. It gave me new insights into foods, presentation, and endless possibilities. […] This is a book I will probably read several times because it is a fast read and I think I will pick up on new tips and tricks each time I stroll through the pages and view the images.” ~ StoreyBook Reviews
“I am so intrigued by Accessible Fine Dining. What the author tries to draw out of us in the kitchen is our creativity. There are no recipes. It simply talks about his journey from marketing to becoming a chef, and then what makes for fine dining in our homes. From aroma to presentation to the food's story to the taste, the food journey you offer your guests can be inspiring and originate from deep within. I can't wait to apply these principles the next time I have people over.” ~ Marilyn R Wilson
“I felt like I've joined Noam in his jungle ‘hut’ (that's a respectful term!) and witnessed him not only talking about his approach but seeing him do everything he describes. It is not a ‘cooking book’ - it's more of a manifesto and values statement that anything else. And that's what makes this book unique and amazing. A true feast for senses!” ~ Adam


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
This book is written by businessman Noam Kostucki and chef Quentin Villers, who together have set up HiR Fine Dining, a restaurant in Costa Rica equipped with only a very basic kitchen. Their ability to combine fresh and unusual ingredients has brought them worldwide recognition. In this book, they demonstrate how anyone can cook the way they do. “The purpose of this book is not to teach you how to create carbon copies of our dishes. It is to inspire new ideas so that you can be amazed by your original creations.” Follow the twelve principles they lay out, perform the challenges they set, and don’t be afraid of failure, for “the more mistakes you make, the better the chef you will become.”
I love the book’s imaginative presentation, with the look of a well-worn handwritten notebook, the quirky and colorful text, the authors’ biographies (complete with hand-drawn portraits), handwritten reviews from diners, and gorgeous color photographs of the locale, wildlife, and food. Unfortunately, there are several editing errors including missing words, repeated paragraphs, poorly phrased sentences, misused words (e.g., desert for dessert, conversing for conserving), inconsistent spelling (e.g., tartar and tartare), and inconsistent formatting (e.g., “Challenges” become “Adventures” and are positioned after “Quentin’s Comments” instead of before).
After reading this book, you will “become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen.” The authors invite you to post photos of your creations on their Facebook page or Instagram page.


Interview With the Author
Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers, entrepreneur, and chef Noam Kostucki stops by today to discuss his new cookbook, Accessible Fine Dining.
Who is this book for?
This book is for people who enjoy cooking for themselves and want to lift their cooking to the next level up without breaking the bank account and without necessarily needing to spend more time in the kitchen. If you like hosting dinners, lunches, or brunches, this book will give you ways of creating a more memorable experience for your guests. You will learn about different principles and practices to make the dish not only flavorful and visually beautiful, but also to give it stories that enhance the experience of the dish. So anyone who enjoys cooking and likes to create memorable experiences may enjoy this book.
Now that you’ve got the restaurant established and the book published, what’s next?
We’re building the ship as we sail, so there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. The first year was what’s called in the world of tech startups “minimum viable product”. It was a year to test the concept, and it all happened in the minimum space possible: in my neighbor’s tiny little cabina.
Halfway through the first year, I started building on the land I bought and, in the second year, I moved everything to the unfinished house. For a year, we ran the restaurant in a temporary kitchen with a house still in construction. We had guests eat next to a pile of cement, walls of concrete blocks, and nobody ever complained. It’s amazing because, anywhere else in the world, people would have complained, and we would have been shut down. But here, guests were excited to see the contrast between the peaceful jungle, the refined food, and our house still in construction. It’s been a blessing that guests were so happy to experience our lives as it is happening.
Now the kitchen is 80% finished, the house is 60% finished, and the garden only 10% ready. In 2019, we want to get the kitchen completely functional, our living space comfortable, and the garden big enough to produce the majority of produce we cook for guests. The next big step is growing the garden big enough that we can be our own organic food supplier and really be a farm-to-table experience. In the longer-term future, it’d be amazing to have a butterfly conservatory and tree houses so that guests can sleep overnight and spend some of their days gardening, meditating, or doing business or personal coaching with us.
Who are your biggest inspirations with cooking?
I see this question in two ways: the inspirations with “food” and the inspiration for the jungle culinary adventure “HiR Fine Dining”.
When it comes to food, it has to be my parents. My parents love food. They always got me to try different things and got me to eat in the most amazing places. They opened my world of food in the most extraordinary way. Seeing my mom cook also inspires my cooking style because she had this amazing talent for repurposing. Today’s pasta became tomorrow’s lasagna. The lasagna became an Indian curry. The curry became a soup. The soup became a sauce for a fish dish. The fish dish became a spread for sandwiches. And so on. It was amazing to see how she made things with what seemed like nothing. She also tried cooking things from all over the world and adapted the recipes with what she didn’t have. I cook very much like that. My dad’s cooking is very different. He didn’t cook very often. But when he did cook, he made it a big thing. He always made his cooking a special experience. He researched his dish and cooked experimental things he’d tried in the world’s best restaurants. I remember one dish with a deep-fried salmon that he tried every week for several months until he finally got it right because the trick was to get the croquette cooked on the outside while keeping the tuna mostly raw on the inside… but not cold or frozen. When he finally got it right, it was amazing. It felt like such an accomplishment. He also loved shopping for special produce. He would find these guys who were in love with their produce, tell us stories, and get us to taste things that they didn’t sell to the public because it was “weird” or “unusual”.
So, they put me on the path of loving food and enjoying to cook.
When it comes to the fine dining experience I created here in Costa Rica, my biggest inspiration is David Copperfield. I remember going to see David Copperfield with my parents and what amazed me most is looking at the adults in the crowd: for the duration of the show, they were back to being children. That’s when I understood that magic is when we’re surprised and we can’t explain how something is done. We know there’s a trick and there’s a technique to do it, but we don’t know how what we’re seeing is done. When we have that experience, it’s like being kids again and then we’re open to new experiences. When I do the dinners, that’s the experience I want people to have. I want people to leave thinking “WTF?! How did these dishes come out of this place and these people? How is this possible?” I love people going back with a story to tell their friends because, when they do, they get to relive the experience over and over again. That thought makes me very happy.
Has anything ever gone wrong during preparation or dinners?
A lot has gone wrong, many times. I have a Japanese knife that I sharpen religiously. Once, I put it in the sink and started washing a chopping board. While cleaning the board with a sponge, my fingers touched the blade, and I cut right through my fingers. I was bleeding everywhere and, of course, that was my first night with a group of twelve people and a helper. When the Michelin star chef cooked with me, I ran out of gas. It was my first month, and I hadn’t thought about it. I didn’t even know where to get gas. I felt like such an idiot. He was so angry at me. These guests never forgave me: I invited them to another dinner for free or to be reimbursed, and they chose neither. Once, I put a ladle that had a bit of water in a pot of very hot oil for deep frying … and it exploded. I burned the top of my forehead. Luckily Nadia didn’t get hurt at all, and I wasn’t hurt too bad. It could have been a lot worse. I got really worried. I’ve had dishes go wrong as I’m cooking them, and I suddenly have to improvise a completely new dish. So far, nothing has been so bad that it ruins the dinner. My biggest fear is to drop a plate and not have any more food to make a new dish. I see that happen in front of my eyes every time I pick up a plate. I’m so happy it hasn’t happened so far!
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Noam. Best of luck with your restaurant and book.


About the Authors
Noam Kostucki
My name is Noam Kostucki and I create spaces for magic to happen.
I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.
I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.
I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example, Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.
As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.
My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers
Quentin Villers
Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a 4-seat dinner at HiR Fine Dining in Costa Rica (value $580) OR one of 10 paperback or 20 ebook copies of Accessible Fine Dining (open internationally to wherever Amazon delivers).

Links