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How do great chefs make their food taste better? Is it the ingredients they use? Their cooking techniques and equipment? That's part of the answer. But the real secret is that truly great chefs follow their instincts -- the kitchens in their heads. Now, in her first cookbook, Jody Adams, the award-winning chef/co-owner of Boston's Rialto, teaches you how to follow your own instincts and make the transition from passionate eater to passionate cook. In the Hands of a Chef shares Jody's favorite dishes, those she prepares for family and friends in her home kitchen. By teaching the basics of artisanal cooking, or making good food from scratch, she gives cooks a solid foundation for cooking like a chef. She tells readers what to look for when buying ingredients, what equipment is essential, and how a dish should look and taste while being prepared. Above all, Jody encourages readers to trust their instincts and follow them to create a cooking style that feels right, using recipes as the building blocks for their own creations. From starters, seasonal soups, salads, and main courses to desserts, Jody reinvents Mediterranean foods using unconventional ingredients, many from New England. For a boost of summer flavor, grilled tomatoes add depth to gazpacho. To vary the flavor of simple salads -- from a Minted Romaine Salad with Grapes, Ricotta Salata, and Toasted Almonds to Arugula and Portobella Mushroom Salad-one or two seasonal ingredients are added to the usual recipes. Drawing inspiration from Italian tradition, Jody offers up innovative pasta and grains dishes. Ravioli, pappardelle, gnocchi, and linguine are served up with Mediterranean flavors and ingredients -- tomatoes, olives, figs, chestnuts, fresh greens, wild mushrooms, Parmesan cheese -- for home-style meals any time of the year. Yet much of Jody's cooking is pure American in flavor. Dessert classics are reinvented with new twists, such as Super-Creamy Rice Pudding with Passion Fruit Sauce and Heather's Cranberry Chocolate Pecan Tart. Here, too, are Jody's signature dishes, including Roasted Marinated Long Island Duck with Green Olive and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Soupe de Poisson, which Jacques Pépin calls the best version outside of France. Intended to make you wish you had more time to spend in the kitchen, In the Hands of a Chef is an inspiration as well as an essential resource for every cook. Why be just a good cook when you can be a great one? Put yourself in the hands of Jody Adams with In the Hands of a Chef.