This post comes courtesy of chefs and cookbook authors Max and Eli Sussman.
Max and Eli Sussman grew up outside of Detroit and have been cooking since high school — and now they’re writing a cookbook for Williams-Sonoma. The brothers’ book (scheduled for release in spring 2012) is geared toward the adventurous young cook, so you can expect some “projects” — think pickling, smoking your own bacon, mixing cocktails and full, multi-course dinner party menus.
The cookbook will also be released as a digital copy and will include videos and cooking play lists curated by Max and Eli. Get to know them better in the discussion below.
1. Contrary to popular belief, we do actually sleep (sometimes).
So if we are cooking full time, when do we write the cookbook? (Well, we are writing this blog post at 1 a.m. so you get an idea…) We test the recipes and come up with ideas in our off hours, on our days off and truthfully, while we are sleeping. It’s pretty common that we wake up and immediately realize there is a small change that will help one of our recipes. Yeah, so we dream about garnishes, salt content and our restaurant food orders — but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We live together in Brooklyn, but because of our schedules we sometimes can go two days without seeing each other. So in order to stay all up in each other’s business about the recipe development, we exchange dozens of text messages and emails all day to update each other on research and development. It could be as short as “roast the corn this AM,” “chorizo gravy came out awesome,” or “that dessert is missing something,” or it could be a five-paragraph email with instructions on what the other should accomplish that day (we are pretty big on bossing each other around).
Sometimes we have to test recipes separately so we make sure the other person tastes each batch and leaves tweaks and revisions. It’s not uncommon to open up our fridge and see notes like “don’t try yet, still testing” or to look on the counter and see a note that says “you need to eat this before work and let me know what you think.”
3. We cook professionally… so you don’t have to.
We work every day in restaurant kitchens using sophisticated equipment, but we work extremely diligently to make sure our recipes are approachable and accessible so you don’t need any professional experience to master every recipe in our upcoming cookbook. We use the techniques, approaches and concepts we’ve learned but make sure our recipes are ready for the home cook to execute in his or her kitchen without fancy gadgets or expensive kitchen tools.
4. Testing recipes is fun (but it helps to take a run every once in a while).
Every day we get to wake up and make up recipes, test them until they are perfect and then eat the end results. Ain’t too bad of a gig. The other day we did eat several batches of cereal cupcakes — eating over a pound of buttery, sugary desserts all in the pursuit of the perfect recipe. This isn’t the healthiest way to spend the evening, but somebody’s gotta do it.
5. Our friends, family and Twitter followers are our testing squad (and you can be, too).
Writing a cookbook is a huge process. Testing dozens of recipes is very time consuming in its own right, but in order to make sure we get the recipes perfect, we send them out for review. Everyone from our mom to elementary school friends to followers on Twitter get into the mix, testing recipes and providing welcome feedback. Sometimes we’ll get a wacky, off-the-wall suggestion we don’t incorporate, but most of the time the first tester is the most valuable step to creating a delicious recipe. If you want to test a recipe, reply to us on Twitter (@TheSussmans) and let us know!
About the authors: Max and Eli Sussman grew up outside of Detroit Michigan and have been cooking since high school. Max is currently the Chef De Cuisine at Roberta’s in Brooklyn which recently received 2 stars from the New York Times. He has previously worked at The Breslin in Manhattan and was the Chef De Cuisine at Eve in Ann Arbor Michigan. Eli is a line cook at Mile End in Brooklyn. He previously wrote for LAist.com and is on the Board of Taste of the Nation NYC. They are both closely affiliated with Share our Strength, an organization working to end childhood hunger in America.They live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NYC. Their website is www.thesussmanbrothers.com