Saturday, January 12, 2019

Interview & Giveaway with Noam Kostucki author of Accessible Fine Dining

Who is this book for?

This book is for people who enjoy cooking for themselves and want to lift their cooking to the next level up without breaking the bank account and without necessarily needing to spend more time in the kitchen. If you like hosting dinners, lunches or brunches, this book will give you ways of creating a more memorable experience for your guests. You will learn about different principles and practices to make the not only the dish flavorful and visually beautiful, but also give it stories that enhance the experience of the dish. So anyone who enjoys cooking and likes to create memorable experiences may enjoy this book.

What’s your culinary background?

I have no formal culinary education or professional experience. I am very lucky that my parents took us to eat all over the world. They took us to three Michelin star restaurants as well as tiny mom and pop hole in the wall in the mountains of Nepal. I grew up eating food from all over the world and from all socio-economic level. This gave me an appreciation for what is common to everyone around the world and what is different and unique to each culture and group.

In terms of cooking, I started at university. I was in self catered halls so I cooked for myself two to three times a day. Then I spend most of the last 15 years self employed, which means I worked from home and generally cooked two to three meals a day for myself. I also always enjoyed having friends over for dinner, so I liked cooking three course meals or big meal with lots of small dishes.

The truth is that I had no idea I could cook as well as I cook now. It was never the plan to make a long lasting restaurant. I just had problems with the internet so I couldn’t do my business coaching and I thought that my cooking was good enough to do a creative 7 course dinner for locals who are tired of always eating the same thing. I thought it would be a fun thing to do for a few months but never that guests would be so happy and that I would receive such amazing reviews and awards. I am still blown away. I still expect guests to tell me it’s just pretentious and doesn’t actually taste good… and every time, people give us the most amazing compliments. It’s so wonderfully rewarding and humbling. It also makes me appreciate “real” chefs who run restaurants that serve 200 people per night. I couldn’t do that and it wouldn’t interest me. I love serving a maximum of 12 people per night because it feels like a family dinner. That’s also part of why I relate so much to home cooks.

You started a fine dining restaurant without culinary education or experience working in a professional kitchen, how is this possible?

It’s a combination of great planning and luck. Everyone told me I was crazy and it was a stupid idea. I completely understand why: starting a fine dining restaurant with no culinary background, 30 minutes away from the closest tourist town and without a car seems like a crazy idea.

As a business coach, I’ve learned to assess situations, and I knew what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. I designed the entire experience to focus on my strengths and avoid my weaknesses.

I can’t take orders from 40 people at the same time and if one person wants a steak well done, another a steak medium rare and another wants salmon medium, I would screw up. I don’t have that kind of experience and developing that skill would take me years of working in a kitchen.

From cooking for myself for about 15 years, I knew that I could create 7 small nice dishes, and if everyone eats the same thing at the same time and they’re not rushed, then it’s fairly easy: I prepare one dish before they arrive so that it can be served quickly, and while they eat I have time to prepare the next one. With 3h30, it gives me 30 min per dish. Knowing that everyone is planned in advance and that you have the whole day to prepare the different bits, it becomes possible to do completely alone.

I only prepared what I knew. Every dish was something I had practiced for many times, and I knew everything I was doing throughout the day. With time, my dishes evolved and I often can’t believe what I serve.  

How can anyone elevate their home cooking to fine dining?

The basic idea is to shift the thinking from food only to zoom out and focus on the entire experience. Fine dining is not just about the food, it’s also about stories, about the search for unique ingredients and unexpected combinations. To elevate home cooking to fine dining, you want to think of your dinner in courses and about the story you’re telling through the evening. Each dish then has to have one to three unique components that surprise guests. You want to visually present and introduce each dish in a way that makes it appealing and memorable. Finally, you want to express who you are through your dinner because it will make your food authentic and exciting.

Book Details & Giveaway:

Book Title: Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with Chef Quentin Villers
Category: Adult Non-fiction , 128 pages
Genre: Creative Cookbook / Fine Dining
Publisher: Amazon
Release date: Dec 10, 2018
Tour dates: Jan 7 to 31, 2019
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as "25 dishes to travel around the world", featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.

Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.

For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.

The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.

We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.

If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.

Buy the Book:

Watch the book trailer:

Meet the Authors:

Noam Kostucki


I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others, and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.

I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.

I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.

As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.

My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers

Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Connect with the Authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 7, 2019


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Glamour Amour kit by Irene Alexeeva and the Oh La La kit by NewLifeDreams Design