This past friday I headed to the Copley Square William's Sonoma for a book signing and demonstration by one of my favorite local chefs, Joanne Chang. Her new book Flour Too came out less than a month ago and I picked my signing date within the first couple of days of the release of the calendar. Her first book, Flour, is one of my favorite cookbooks, containing some daring stuff that I didn't think I would every try. Her recipes are complicated and definitely require a good read-through before you get started, a point Chef Chang emphasized during her demonstration on Friday. I don't know that I would recommend a lot of them for beginner bakers. But I have to say that I have never made something out of the Flour cookbook that was not universally loved. In fact, last year when my parents came to visit, I made her chocolate cream pie specifically for my father, a man who might be called a chocolate pie aficionado by some, and he declared it the best he has ever tasted. He even asked if I could make it for them when they come to visit me again this year. A few years ago I even baked outside the box to make a king cake out of the brioche recipe in Flour and it was better than anything I ever tasted when I lived in New Orleans.
Clearly, I was excited about the release of Flour Too. Now, while Flour is a collection consisting almost entirely of desserts, Flour Too tries to cast a wider net, showcasing some of Chef Chang's talents in the savory arts. There are sections containing breakfast items, lunch, dinner, party, and of course additional dessert gems. I for one was particularly excited to see the BLT recipe that I recently fell in love with off of the Flour Bakery menu.
Chef Chang demonstrated how to make gougeres, a savory cream puff that is actually a favorite of my husband. I've always been too intimidated to make them because they seemed complicated and easy to mess up. However, they seem like the easiest thing in the world as Chef Chang chatted amicably to the crowd, pausing every once in a while to show us what this or that stage of the batter should look like. She even offered up the first tip that I've ever heard in real favor of using unsalted butter over salted butter; it's fresher!
After the delightful demonstration, Chef Chang signed books for everyone. She was courteous and gracious throughout, listening to stories, chatting up people, commenting on compliments, and posing for pics. I was fond of her for her food and her cookbooks before this encounter but now I'm doubly fond of her for her great attitude and pleasant demeanor. It was really a delight to meet her and I can't wait to dive into some of the inspirational goodies contained in Four Too!