Throughout the day, the CIA will ask trivia questions on its @CIACulinary Twitter about everything from its textbook and history to basic cooking techniques. The CIA's Twitter followers who correctly answer the questions will be eligible to win autographed books by CIA graduates such as John Besh and high-end cookware.
'My New Orleans - The Cookbook: 200 of My Favorite Recipes from My Hometown'
By John Besh
Photographs by Ditte Isager Andrews McMeel -- 2009 Buy it on Amazon
Chef John Besh's magnum opus on the food of his hometown could easily be mistaken for a coffee table-style photography book edited by someone with one heck of a food fetish. That'd be only partially correct.
Besh celebrates and contextualizes New Orleans cuisine within a reverent, passionate travelogue and memoir based around the ingredients and food rituals of a full year in the Big Easy. In this 374-page volume, the chef, restaurateur (including August, Lüke, Besh Steak, Domenica, La Provence and the upcoming the American Sector at the National WWII Museum), "Next Iron Chef" contender, former Marine and father of four weaves an intimate, illustrated narrative of a life lived deliciously in one of the world's most important food cities.
Through touching vignettes from his childhood, emergence into chefhood and post-Katrina rebuilding efforts, as well as informative sidebars about key Creole and Cajun ingredients and paens to his favorite food haunts, Besh stokes and slakes a multitude of hungers for lovers of this city on the mend.
It's also one hell of a cookbook.
See what we tested and find out whether the book's worth buying after the jump.
While you're waiting for Michael Thomas Hastings' "Top Chef Masters" recap, snack on this mini interview with former contender John Besh. The New Orleans chef and author stopped by Slashfood HQ earlier this week to chat about his Top Chef Masters predictions, being judged by bloggers and why he won't be strapping an arm behind his back again anytime soon.
Everyone from Anthony Bourdain to John Besh to longtime friend Jacques Pépin has a memory about the woman who taught America how to cook
Known for her distinctive chirruping voice and down-to-earth attitude towards French cooking (and one famously dropped roast chicken), Julia Child maintains an everlasting influence on generations of professional and home cooks.
On "The French Chef," Child taught America that anybody can cook with the right instruction while managing to be the best of both worlds: educational and engaging.
With the biographical movie, "Julie & Julia," hitting theaters nationwide on Aug. 7, AOL Food chatted with notable chefs and food personalities about their personal memories and thoughts of Child and her considerable impact on the way America cooks at home.
"[She] singlehandedly created the cooking show as we know it, started the whole notion of the celebrity chef, created a market in which me and many of my friends have prospered," said Anthony Bourdain, chef and host of Travel Channel's "No Reservations." "She changed not just the culinary world -- but the whole world."
With Child's trademark sign-off -- a jolly "Bon Appétit!" -- her knowledge and quirky charisma allowed Julia to teach America that any one can cook, even a 4-hour long boeuf bourguignon, with the right coaching.
Celebrity chef Sara Moulton, executive chef of Gourmet magazine, TV personality and cookbook author, first met Julia in 1979 while working as a food stylist on her PBS cooking show "Julia Child & More Company" and remained friends until Child's death in 2004.
"She was so spontaneous which is why everyone loved her," Moulton said, adding: "You never knew what she was going to do."
Chef John Besh of Restaurant August in New Orleans and cookbook author of "My New Orleans" went so far as to name Child "the ambassador of French Cooking."
"She was the first one to take the mystique out of cooking," Besh told AOL Food. "She was the pioneer of speaking about food in everyday terms and removing a lot of the snobbery from it."
See what else Chef Besh told AOL Food about Julia Child. Click the arrow to start the video.
Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard spoke with AOL Food about Julia Child's influence on her career. Click the arrow to start the video.
Michael Psilakis, New York City chef and TV personality, raced home to watch Julia Child on television growing up because she reminded me of his grandmother -- "a big woman with big hands and funny accent."
More than that, Psilakis said Julia spread the culinary world to a lot more people than chefs like himself could ever touch in a dining room.
"What she really is teaching, more than the process of how to cook something, is the gift that food really is," Psilakis said. "She showed people that food is this glorious gift."
Child taught that life should be lived with an amount of joie de vivre and unashamed passion as Matt Lee of the James Beard Award winning cookbook author duo The Lee Bros. shared in this memory of Julia that involves bubbly and a sword.
"She was the speaker at a black-tie holiday dinner of an ancient Harvard arts organization. I don't recall a thing she said, but that she elicited plenty of laughter from the crowd, a mixed group of about 100, students, faculty and alumni," Lee said.
"Nearing the end of her remarks, she called for a saber and champagne bottle, and the dining room fell silent as she proceeded to perform that Napoleonic trick (shearing the cork and glass collar clean with a brisk stroke)," he continued.
"In this case, the cork sailed out over the crowd in a wide arc, taking what seemed like a full minute to cross the room, all eyes following," Lee said. "It nailed the economist John Kenneth Galbraith's red wine goblet, which shattered and dropped its full load on the tablecloth, at which point the entire room stood up and gave her a standing ovation."
With her undeniable presence and zest for life, Child reached out and touched audiences by being unpretentious and real -- changing foodways by convincing the home cook that "you can do it too."
Kat Kinsman and Sara Bonisteel also contributed to this story.
If the unofficial theme of "Top Chef Masters" has been "putting celebrity chefs through the wringer every Wednesday night," episode four ratcheted up the pain to an almost cruel and unusual degree. As if it's not bad enough to be stripped of your line chefs and prep cooks, try cooking one-handed. Or worse -- have your creations judged by the surprisingly hard-to-please foodie/actor Neil Patrick Harris.
NPH, it seems, is a triple threat, as he is also an amateur magician. This accounts at least in part for the sleight-of-hand sadism inflicted upon this week's four competing masters. From the opening challenge -- cook an egg with one arm tied behind your back -- on through to the main course served at Hollywood's kitschy Magic Castle, a theme of mystery permeated the proceedings. It produced some of the most adventurous -- and at times, fussy and over-elaborate -- dishes the show has seen.
The ironically unassuming Anita Lo of New York City's Annisa dominated early with a delicately fluffy slow-cooked egg, served up in a cracked shell with truffle and oyster sauce.