Tim is either a mad genius or just mad. I’m going with mad genius. In addition to The 4-Hour Chef, he is the author of The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body. In each book he obsessively describes how to maximize results with minimal efforts, often by standing conventional wisdom on its head. In The 4-Hour Chef, he sets out to teach anyone how to become a world class chef in just a few hours, not years. The book is broken down into different skill levels from domestic to professional and is filled with both easy and intricate recipes. While it’s meant for neophytes, his section on “science” and avant garde culinary tricks like the Maillard reaction use of liquid nitrogen are well worth exploring. The book is also loaded with an endless series of digressions and anecdotes that offer a window into Tim’s hyperactive and outright obsessive mind.
To me what’s most interesting about the book is the autodidactic methodology he employs to master cooking, techniques that can be used in any discipline. Tim has used them not just for cooking, but teaching himself Japanese is record time, to win a Chinese kickboxing championship, and to set a world record in tango.
Clearly, The 4-Hour Chef is not just another cookbook and Tim is not just another cookbook author.