Noted food writer Michael Ruhlman is the author and co-author of numerous books on cooking and the craft of the chef including The Making of a Chef, Ratio, Charcuterie (w/ Brian Polcyn), The French Laundry Cookbook (w/ Thomas Keller) and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He was in Traverse City this week for Pigstock TC and I had a chance to sit down with him to talk about cooking, writing and his Traverse City experience.
What would you say your job is?
My job is to provide for my family, and I do that by writing books. In the food world, it’s to convey information and to make what I’ve learned in cooking as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I write about stuff that I don’t know, explore it and find out what it’s all about.
Do you still want to be a novelist?
I just started writing fiction again. I’m a writer by disposition – I just have to write. It’s a physical need and happily I’ve been able to make a living at something I enjoy.
With Ratio and Ruhlman’s Twenty, I show that when you know one ratio or one technique, you don’t know one recipe, you know a thousand recipes. All of cooking is about fundamental technique. What Thomas Keller (The French Laundry) does is not that difficult, there’s just a lot of it – a lot of components on the plate. I learned early on that it’s all about technique. I’ve always been exploring that because one of my goals is to get more people cooking. I think the world is better if we cook our own food. We stopped cooking food, and it’s made us sick. I’m trying to counter thoughtless mantras that are put before us like “Fat is bad, fat makes you fat.” Fat is not bad, stupid is bad. We need fat to live on. Too much fat is bad. Read more