Chef Marc Murphy is the man behind successful New York restaurants Ditch Plains, Landmarc, and Kingside, as well as the catering company Benchmarc, but you may also know him from his appearances as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped. His 30 years of kitchen experience encompasses just about every style of cooking, from fine dining to casual, but for his first cookbook, called Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking, which went on sale last week, he decided to keep it fun and accessible to anybody.
“I want people to actually cook out of this book, and to get excited about cooking,” he told us. “The recipes aren’t too complicated, and the goal is to make home cooks feel more confident and more adventurous.”
The book contains more than 130 recipes, free of pretense and accessible to just about anybody. Recipes include spaghetti alla carbonara, smoked mozzarella and ricotta fritters, pain perdu, deviled eggs with fried oysters, and his famous Big Marc Burger. There are also some dessert recipes, including a classic tarte Tatin.
One of the most crucial points that Murphy stresses in his book is the importance of knife skills. “Once you figure out how to use a knife, everything falls into place,” he told us. And as the title implies, knowing how to properly use salt is also crucial. “Everybody is scared of salt; they think it’s not good for you,” he said. “In reality, it brings out flavors and opens them up. There’s oversalting, of course, but you just have to know how to season to the right degree.”
As for why he decided to focus on easy, straightforward recipes for his first cookbook instead of writing a more highbrow affair? “I’ve worked at high-end restaurants my whole life, but the most fun times I’ve had have been when I’m just sitting around cooking something fun and tasty,” he said. “This book is the same concept. By the time people are done with this book, I want them to be able to just open the fridge and whip something up, and not be afraid of cooking.”