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Review: From The Cooking School at La Campagne

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From The Cooking School at La Campagne
By John Byrne
ISBN: 0966120035
Publisher: Small Potatoes Press
Publication date: November 1999
Format: Paperback
List price: $16.95 (Canada, UK)
Type: Cuisine: French: Provençal
Sample Recipe: Daube of Beef Provençal
intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive Biblical stature coffee-table
competition: outclassed also-ran midrange strong challenger leads the pack
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 >300
practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% >80%
# of ingredients: <3 <6 <9 <12 >12
ingredient hunt: 7-11 pantry supermarket online airfare required
recipe complexity: baby steps simple medium intense professional
instructions: inadequate bare bones full figured educational verbose
time conscious: outright lies speed of light fairly quick takes time takes all day
photos/drawings: skimpy adequate generous instructive glorious
recipe results: dog food dorm food casual food family meals fancy food
flavor quotient: disappointing fair good delicious exceptional
layout: ick cluttered clean kind to cooks work of art
legibility: microscopic challenging adequate clear brilliant
production quality: cheesy questionable years of service gift-quality stunning
value: ouch! a little pricey on the money excellent worth splurging
Ease of Use
page numbers: invisible hard to find spotty adequate obvious
table of contents: missing frustrating passable useful helpful
index quality: none tragic adequate good excellent
page flipping: infuriating tedious acceptable rare never
writer(s): hack cook turned writer writer turned cook comedian auteur
cook(s): self-taught non-restaurant chef teacher celebrity
overall rating: fair good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

From the Cooking School at La Campagne is the collaborative effort of restaurant owner John Byrne and the chefs/teachers who work in the well-known New Jersey restaurant and have been teaching home cooks how to make Provençal cuisine for more than 10 years. Culled from a collection of more than 1,000 teaching recipes, the book offers a wonderful range of manageable, well-explained, delicious dishes, from appetizers through desserts. The book is also studded with many useful definitions, hints, and other tidbits of information. 

As with all French cooking, some recipes rely on base sauces and stocks, which requires a certain amount of advanced preparation or flipping to referenced recipes.  The layout and design of the book is as clean as you will find in the cooking world, and is a pleasure to use.

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