The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School: Recipes and Inspiration to Build a Lifetime of Confidence in the Kitchen – Alison Cayne

(Reviewed by JD Jung)


Haven’s Kitchen, a recreational hands-on cooking school with a café and event space was opened in 2012 in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. They don’t teach off of printed recipes, as the purpose is to “ teach the joy of cooking with the understanding that our food choices are deeply connected to a larger food economy. “

Since most of us cannot attend this school, The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School is a wonderful alternative.

Founder Alison Cayne teaches you how to cook, not just how to follow recipes. The recipes that are included are from all over the globe and have a purpose to teach technique and principles. In fact she urges readers to experiment and improvise on them.

Before she starts cooking, she demonstrates basics: types of knives needed and how to use them to create different cuts. How do you cut herbs and onions? She lists pantry necessities and how to store them. What type of spices and sweeteners do you need for what food? What should you keep in your refrigerator? She also suggests how to keep clean and organized while you cook.

The recipe portion consists of nine sections and what principles apply: grains and beans, fritters, vegetables (seasonality), soups (layering flavors), eggs (timing and temperature), salads (composition), fish, poultries and meats (heat), sauces (balance) and desserts. She also has a section on cooking with wine.

The helpful charts, illustrations and inspiring photographs are a plus to the clear explanations.

I usually don’t recommend cookbooks, as you can get recipes off the internet. However, this isn’t a cookbook. It’s more of a cooking manual and she recommends writing notes in the columns.

The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School is both comprehensive and concise. I recommend it to the casual cook who prepares food just to survive all the way to the home chef who loves to create complex dishes to serve to guests.

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