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One of Smithsonian Magazine's Ten Best Food Books of the Year
A revolutionary new guide to pairing ingredients, based on a famous chef's groundbreaking research into the chemical basis of flavor
As an instructor at one of the world’s top culinary schools, James Briscione thought he knew how to mix and match ingredients. Then he met IBM Watson. Working with the supercomputer to turn big data into delicious recipes, Briscione realized that he (like most chefs) knew next to nothing about why different foods taste good together. That epiphany launched him on a quest to understand the molecular basis of flavor—and it led, in time, to The Flavor Matrix.
A groundbreaking ingredient-pairing guide, The Flavor Matrix shows how science can unlock unheard-of possibilities for combining foods into astonishingly inventive dishes. Briscione distills chemical analyses of different ingredients into easy-to-use infographics, and presents mind-blowing recipes that he's created with them. The result of intensive research and incredible creativity in the kitchen, The Flavor Matrix is a must-have for home cooks and professional chefs alike: the only flavor-pairing manual anyone will ever need.
About the Author
Celebrity chef and instructor James Briscione is the director of culinary research at the Institute of Culinary Education, lead chef on IBM's Chef Watson project, and the first-ever two-time Chopped champion. He lives in New York City.
BROOKE PARKHURST is a novelist, cookbook author, and former host of ABC's internet and digital cable food series. She lives in New York City.
"The food-pairing bible you never knew you needed."
"Do chicken, mushrooms, and strawberries go together? What about banana and chili sauce? In 2012, James Briscione the Director of Culinary Development at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York had the opportunity to work with IBM’s supercomputer Watson. Drawing on a wealth of data, the computer would generate a list of ingredients, often ones you wouldn’t think would go together, for the chefs to make a dish with. The results were surprisingly good. But, as Briscione points out, few people have access to Watson. Briscione took the ideas from his time with the supercomputer and offers a scientific look at how flavors break down and pair up. Using a modified color wheel for foods like brassicas and crustaceans, he reveals unexpected pairings, offering recipes to prove his case."
—Food & Wine, "The 18 Spring Cookbooks We're Most Excited About"
"Unlock[s] a whole world of information about why flavors work together...Full of detailed infographics, this book also includes Briscione's original recipes."
—Epicurious, "Spring 2018 Cookbook Preview: The 37 New Cookbooks to Buy This Spring"
"A fascinating collection of matrices that break down the best flavor combinations to make main ingredients shine...Visually, this book is stunning, like a science text for foodies, with a particularly helpful introduction...[The Flavor Matrix] is a treat for gourmands and food science geeks."
"Briscione, director of culinary research at the Institute of Culinary Education, along with cowriter and wife Parkhurst, will delight food nerds with this scientific exploration of flavor profiles of common ingredients...Professional chefs and home cooks who enjoy experimentation will welcome this insightful new approach."
"Flavor pairing is a fundamental building block of what separates the cook from the chef. The Flavor Matrix will help you think like a chef."
—Madeline Puckette, co-author of Wine Folly
“A gifted and creative chef, James Briscione puts the algorithms of taste to use in this wonderfully researched new book. The Flavor Matrix uses science to expand our universe of possible ingredient combinations, and in the process points the way to the future of cooking.”
—Frank Stitt, author of Frank Stitt's Southern Table and Bottega Favorita
"This comprehensive book is a great tool for any student looking to strengthen his or her knowledge of ingredients, flavors, and textures. The opportunity to study and understand the science of these elements is a great advantage to today’s generation of cooks. They should all make use of it!"
—Daniel Boulud, author of Letters to a Young Chef and Daniel: My French Cuisine
“The Flavor Matrix isn’t just a high quality cookbook filled with delicious recipes and insights. It is that. But more importantly, it’s sure to be a requirement for the professional and passionate home cook alike.”
—Richard Blais, author of Try This At Home and So Good
“The Flavor Matrix is full of interesting insights into the way chefs build dynamic relationships between ingredients. Whether professional chefs or home cooks, we can all use these diagrams as a starting point for endless creativity.”
—Michael Anthony, author of The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook and V is for Vegetables
"We may be decades away from unraveling exactly how flavor works, but in the meantime, Briscione has given anyone who cooks an approachable source of vivid inspiration and delightful recipes."
—Ali Bouzari, author of Ingredient