New from #1 New York Times best-selling author Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Chef isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a
choose-your-own-adventure guide to the world of rapid learning.
A lifelong non-cook,
Ferriss takes you from Manhattan to Okinawa, Silicon Valley to Calcutta,
unearthing the secrets of the world’s fastest learners and greatest chefs. He
uses cooking to explain “meta-learning,” a step-by-step process that can be
used to master anything, whether you're searing a steak or shooting three-pointers.
That is the real “recipe” of The 4-Hour Chef.
Featuring tips and
tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, professional athletes,
master sommeliers, supermodels, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for
people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.
Here's an excerpt to
give you a taste of what Tim Ferriss is cooking.
1979, AGE TWO
I eat my first handful of crickets à la front yard. Life is
As a rat-tailed townie in East Hampton, New York, I work at high-priced
restaurants catering to the rich and famous. For every Billy Joel who smiles
and tips $20 for coffee, there are 20 wannabes with popped collars asking, “Do
you know who I am?” I learn to hate restaurants and, by extension, cooking.
To avoid starvation, I buy my first microwave.
Subsisting on microwavable Lean Cuisines, I start watching
the Food Network for one to two hours a night to decompress from my startup. Half-asleep
one evening, I overhear Bobby Flay say, “Take risks, and you’ll get the
payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.” I type
this up and put it on my desk for moral support during moments of self-doubt.
There will be many.
The 4-Hour Workweek
is published after being turned down by 26 publishers. I’m still enjoying the
Food Network six years later, but I still haven’t made a single dish.
My friend Jesse Jacobs, a former sous-chef, wants to catch up
on business and insists we cook dinner at my place. I respond that he’ll cook
and I’ll handle wine. Pointing at the large Le Creuset pot he brought, he starts
in the veggies and potatoes. No need to cut them.” Ten seconds later, check.
in some olive oil and salt and pepper, and mix everything around.” Ten seconds
them in the oven.” Check.
can’t believe it. “That’s it?” I ask, incredulous.
It’s one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in years.
Inspired, I decide to give cooking another chance.
Overwhelmed by contradictory advice, poorly organized
cookbooks, and unhelpful instructions (e.g., “cook until done”), I throw in the
towel yet again.
I meet my girlfriend, Natasha, who learned how to cook by
imitating her grandmother. She decides to teach me how:
this. Now smell this. Do they go together?”
now smell this and this. Do they go together?”
I commit to writing a book on learning, using cooking as a
vehicle. Fun! My girlfriend can help!
Over the course of one week, I ask my girlfriend “Is this
basil?” 20 times. I want to punch myself in the face 20 times. Crisis of
meaning. Revisit Bobby Flay quote.
In a hotel in Chicago, I replicate a two-Michelin-star
entrée (sea bass, Ibérico ham, watercress, butter, and olive oil) in my hotel
bathroom sink with next to nothing: scalding-hot tap water, Ziploc bags, and a
cheap Polder thermometer. All is not lost.
I hit the inflection point. At the Polaris Grill in
Bellevue, Washington, I am suddenly able to see food in HD—as if someone had
handed me prescription glasses and corrected lifelong blurred vision. I can
clearly “see” paring through taste and smell, I can tell if the steak is 100%
grass-fed or grain-finished, I correctly guess the origins of the Dungeness
crab and the wine and the cooking
methods for the scallops and pork chops. The waiter asks if I’m a chef (answer:
no), and the executive chef comes out to introduce himself. It is otherworldly.
NOVEMBER 24, 2011
I cook Thanksgiving dinner for four people. Graduation day. As
a lifelong non-cook, I feel on top of the world.
I start eating crickets again, this time roasted. I’ve
rediscovered the wonder of food…and the childlike curiosity I thought I’d lost.
The 4-Hour Chef is now available on Kindle and in print.