Culinary power couple Jet and Ali Tila have come together to pass on their know-how expertise in their new cookbook 101 EPIC DISHES: Recipes that Teach You How to Make the Classics Even More Delicious. They have carefully selected the most essential recipes that pull double duty by tasting delicious and teaching readers foundational cooking skills that will easily transfer to other cooking endeavors.
“Food brought us together,” said Jet. “We met when I was teaching cooking classes over a decade ago and haven’t stopped cooking together since. We are cooks and educators and this book brings those two passions together.”
Jet is a celebrity chef/TV personality and the author of 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die. He has appeared as a cohost on Iron Chef America, as a judge on Cutthroat Kitchen and on Today, Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. Ali brings 15 years of pastry and teaching experience. She has appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen.
“We’ve been cooking on social media for years and fans asked for a book,” said Jet. “These 101 of our favorite family recipes are good for all meals from breakfast, lunch, main courses and desserts. Each recipe comes with a cooking tip and chef tip.”
For Jet and Ali, writing a cookbook together was just another great opportunity for them to combine their skills and enjoy yet another experience that comes with their partnership.
“We work really well together, we have complementary skill sets,” said Ali. “Jet is great at the big picture vision and I’m more detail-oriented. Writing a cookbook is a challenge for sure, but I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I’m passionate about with my best friend. It’s a win-win for me.”
An important element to the cookbook is its ability to teach readers basic cooking skills that can be translated further into other cooking challenges. For many, cooking quality dishes seems like a daunting and challenging task, and the goal of the book and the skills involved in the recipes is to show readers that it may not be as difficult as they think. Building a foundation is the key.
“Being educators and cooks, we wanted to take a scaffolding approach,” explained Jet. “Start with easy dishes and teach fundamentals like knife skills or vinaigrettes. Then you can apply those skills to salads. Then you can roast some vegetables and move on to proteins like roast chicken. If you can roast a chicken, then you can have the confidence to roast a prime rib. Prime rib leads to braising short ribs…We can take a new cook and help them become very proficient.”
When it comes to their favorites, some of the first recipes that come to mind for Jet are the “perfect” prime rib, the duck breast, and sides like the fingerling potato salad and roasted Brussels sprouts. For Ali, it’s all about the brown butter chocolate chip cookies, the churros and the coconut chia pudding.
“These are all dishes that are staples in our house,” said Ali. “They are guaranteed to work and be delicious.”
101 EPIC DISHES: Recipes that Teach You How to Make the Classics Even More Delicious is now available via Page Street Publishing Co. for $21.99.