A Taste of Gorgeous

Non-Fiction - Cooking/Food
128 Pages
Reviewed on 07/22/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite

Any cookbook that has “gorgeous” in its title had better deliver great photography. A Taste of Gorgeous by mother and son team Craig Harlen and Johanna Harlen has, if anything, a title that is too modest. Part cookbook and part coffee table photography book, A Taste of Gorgeous is a collection of 50 dessert recipes, many of which are common in their simplicity, but these recipes are plated and photographed to perfection. Johanna Harlen is the author of the recipes, which range from Easy Cherry Cobbler to White Chocolate Crème Brûlée. She describes the recipes as simple, and, for the most part, they use ingredients and techniques that should be accessible to almost any home cook. But the way executive sous chef Craig Harlen plates and photographs these simple desserts is spectacular! He makes even Carrot Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake look like they belong in a Michelin Star restaurant. And what he does with the S’more is extraordinary!

I can’t gush enough about the wonderful photography, but the recipes in A Taste of Gorgeous also sound so good it was hard to choose a favorite. The standout for me was the recipe for Key Lime Pie Deconstructed. Johanna Harlen not only describes how to make the dessert, but she lists step-by-step how to plate it so it looks like the photograph. This is the only recipe in which the plating is explained as the other recipes simply tell how to make the dish. The photos are so inspiring that I might have to try it. Highly recommended as a dessert cookbook, and even more highly recommended as gorgeous food photography. I’m not sure which is the best part of A Taste of Gorgeous – the recipes or the photographs! Really impressive job!

Romuald Dzemo

A Taste of Gorgeous by Craig and Johanna Harlen is a beautiful cook book, featuring great recipes for those who want to prepare some of the tastiest desserts and pastries out there. From the executive sous chef for one of the reputable restaurants, Shila restaurant in Tel Aviv, Israel, comes a wide selection of recipes, each clearly written and explained with a simplicity of language that gives the reader exactly what they need to know. But there is more to this book than recipes; the photography features images of succulent, delectable and mouthwatering treats that will make readers want to get into the kitchen and try the recipes. As one moves from one recipe to the next, there is a feeling of talking with experts who know a lot about food and the kitchen.

The book is beautiful because of the simplicity and elegance in the layout. The authors tease you with an image of the dessert before moving on to share the recipe. Every recipe comes with a brief description of the dessert, what makes it different from the others, and the ingredients required in preparing it. You'll find recipes for a wide selection of desserts, including the Citrus Soufflé, the easy Cherry Cobbler, the Lemon Cream pie, the Chocolate Hazelnut Pate, Paint Pot Tarts, and a lot more. The authors write with clarity and the instructions are very clear for readers. A Taste of Gorgeous is a wonderful cook book that is particularly designed to instill the love of cooking desserts in the reader. Just the images will make you want to taste the final products of these recipes. I can’t wait to try some of them.