I just found out that my most recent cook book, Mediterranean Fresh, has been nominated for a James Beard Award, in the single subject category. It is a book about SALADS and dressings. It is up against one book on Fat and another on Casseroles. Both worthy topics for exploration but if gods of good health, freshness, and seasonality are listening, Salads will prevail. So I have fingers and toes crossed and will find out about the results on May 4 in New York.
I wrote this book after doing many years of restaurant consulting work where I learned that most chefs had no idea how to construct a great salad. To them it was use the least experienced cook or trainee, put some greens in a bowl and throw on some gloppy dressing. Like many a home cook.
Salads have been the Rodney Dangerfield of the restaurant business. Salad bars have produced even worse results because they put out a range of ingredients that may or may not belong in the same bowl and let the diner pick and choose and then put on a dressing that 9 out of 10 times does not go with half of the ingredients in the bowl. Mediterranean Fresh shows how to design a great salad and what dressings work with the chosen ingredients. I think this book shold be required reading in cooking schools and for anyone who loves salads but wishes for more culinary diversity
Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed for my book, too. That would be much appreciated.