On the 15th of October, Chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main, will join cookbook authors and culinary gurus Aki and Alex to celebrate their highly anticipated book Maximum Flavor: Recipes That Will Change The Way You Cook. Years after they all met cooking in the kitchen of Clio, this evening will be a reunion for them, and an enlightening food adventure for their guests. The night will include a multi-course meal Craigie style, but with the collaborative efforts inspired by the dynamic duo that began the Ideas in Food blog.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Aki and Alex to talk about the dinner as well as the new book.
At what point did you decide to take your stock pile of ideas and flavors from your Ideas in Food blog and create the cookbook?
Maximum Flavor is a brand new collection of recipes. There were sparks and thought threads which began on the blog. In our first book Ideas in Food we created a handbook for the kitchen. Maximum Flavor is a workbook.
Do you think people are often intimidated by cookbooks and thus shy away from actually making interesting and exciting things in their home kitchens?
People love to read cookbooks. People love to look at pictures of great food. People love the idea of recipes. What can be daunting is trying to live up to the ideal of what they are supposed to create. Great techniques take time to master. Cookbooks are a wonderful way to share them and teach them to people in a gentle way. Knowing that not everything has to be perfect is important. Being told it's okay to make substitutions or change things up to suit your taste is very helpful because in the end it's all about creating something delicious, not recreating the glossy pictures you see in the pages of a book. They are the inspiration but not the absolute.
For the dinner on the 15th with Chef Tony Maws, will you be featuring only dishes from your cookbook?
We will be looking to the book for ideas and inspiration. Cooking with Tony is always a pleasure. He has incredible ingredients and culinary insights. The recipes in the book will be the starting point but we won't shy away from making changes or taking advantage of any great seasonal products that he has on hand. The dinner will be a collaboration inspired by the book.
Do you both miss working in a restaurant kitchen?
Thankfully our consulting business has us in restaurant kitchens on a regular basis. Our job is to make chefs better. While we do miss cooking for an audience on a regular basis we have so much more flexibility now. We get to play in a wide range of kitchens and experience food from so many different perspectives. We feel very fortunate to be able to experience that and we could never do it if we had a restaurant of our own.
What are your thoughts on the Boston restaurant scene as you continue to work with restaurateurs and chefs?
The Boston/Cambridge restaurant scene continues to grow and inspire us. It is wonderful to see our peers, cooks we worked with years ago, now established and teaching another crop of young cooks. We think it's one of the most vibrant food cities in the country and we are always happy to come see what's new here.
The cost of the dinner is $125 per person; this includes a copy of the book. Wine pairings are available at an additional $50 per person. For reservations, call 617-497-5511.