RIVER WEST — With dozens of internationally acclaimed chefs swapping stories and recipes in the teachers' lounge since 1985, it's a wonder Kendall College's faculty hadn't put together a staff cookbook sooner.
"Sharing Our Global Passion" is the first collection of faculty recipes from the culinary and hospitality school based at 900 N. North Branch St., and Chef Chris Koetke, vice president of the school's culinary arts program, said its publication was long overdue.
"It was an idea that had been talked about for several years, and then very quickly we recently decided, 'This is a great idea, let's jump on it,'" Koetke said. "That tends to be the way we do things here at Kendall — we never sleep."
Lizzie Schiffman joins DNAinfo Radio to discuss Kendall College's new cookbook:
Koetke said it was easy to draw contributions from 22 of the school's chefs for the book, which is available for $25 on the school's website.
"We just went to the faculty and said give us one of your choice signature recipes," he said. "The result had a global sort of feel, because a lot of our chefs are international, or have worked internationally.
"What was fun is that there wasn't a lot of instruction given, like, 'You do lamb, and you do beef.' It really was very much an organic project, just 'Give us something you think is really wonderful, that people can reproduce and is interesting.' When we got all the submissions, it was really fantastic."
Recipes range from simple and home-chef-friendly, like Koetke's Ecuadorian soup, called "locro," "which all happens in one pot and is very simple to do," to complex creations like Chef Michel Coatrieux's sous vide duck breast wrapped in spinach.
Koetke says he thinks even the more complicated recipes are accessible to home cooks since they were written by chefs with experience teaching.
"The other nice thing in the book is there is a photo of every one of the dishes, which I personally find incredibly helpful," he said. "It's nice to be able to look at a picture and say, 'Oh, I see it's supposed to be this or it's supposed to be that.'"
Compiling a cookbook like "Sharing Our Global Passion" and future iterations already in the works is a project Kendall's students may some day have a hand in.
Many of Kendall's classes include a recipe-writing component, and Koetke said the school's 10-year-old food photography elective is always packed.
"Learning how to cook, and how to style it for a camera and see what the photographer sees, are entirely different skill sets," he said. "I'm incredibly happy we've been able to offer this class for over a decade. The students really learn a ton."