Michael Ruhlman is a Cleveland-based, award-winning writer of more than 20 culinary books and nonfiction titles. Known for his expertise in cooking techniques, he has authored books highlighting professional cooking topics such as “Soul of a Chef” (Penguin Books, 2001) and “Charcuterie” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013). He is also a primary collaborator on Thomas Keller’s cookbooks, including the award-winning “The French Laundry Cookbook” (Artisan, 1999).
• Earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
• Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York
• Mentored by Thomas Keller
• Received several James Beard awards, including the 2012 General Cooking award for “Ruhlman’s Twenty” (Chronicle, 2011)
• Appeared as a judge on “Iron Chef” and as a sidekick on “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”
• Maintains a daily exercise routine.
### Making a Difference Through DIY
Michael Ruhlman discovered the magic of eggs in the fourth grade when his home economics teacher demonstrated how to make a simple onion and potato frittata. A latchkey child, he returned home that day to try it himself. Dicing the onions and potatoes, cooking them, pouring in the egg. The result was delicious and a stark contrast to his usual snack: a Pop-Tart, or soda and pretzels. From that moment on, he started to cook his own food. And he never stopped. More than 30 years later, that same frittata found a place in his cookbook “Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient.” “The best dishes are the best because of their durability,” he says, “as good today as they were decades ago.” Considering his own durability as an award-winning cookbook author, it might seem surprising that his path was somewhat accidental. Ruhlman fell into the world of professional cooking as a journalist writing a one-off book, “The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America” (Holt, 2009). He expected to get a story and move on to a new world. But after hanging in the trenches, he was all but dared by his first chef to become a real cook. And so he did. But after writing his first book, Ruhlman was still unknown and broke. With nothing to lose, he returned to his hometown of Cleveland to find work as a cook. He found a restaurant in the hinterlands of the Cleveland suburbs, walking out with a job—but not as a cook. A connection there led to a job working with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry to write Keller’s first cookbook. Working at The French Laundry opened his eyes to the possibilities of cooking. At the CIA, he acquired the fundamentals. But Ruhlman learned the art of awareness—not just of food and cooking—but of the world through Keller. “If a cook forgets his croutons in the oven and they burn, it is a waste,” he says. “Not just of the croutons. But a waste of the time of the cook who cut those croutons, of the baker who baked the bread, and of the farmer who grew the wheat. Cooking really is that important.” The experience at The French Laundry shaped his culinary philosophy. Food, he says, is not just about nourishing ourselves and the people we love. It’s also a tangible connection to the world we live in. Today, he shares this philosophy in the form of words. His books encourage all families to cook their own food instead of relying on prepared meals from the food giants. Because he believes our bodies, families, communities, and the earth itself are better when we cook for ourselves and each other.
Michael Ruhlman is also part of Simple Feast, an app the hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes by Michael and other incredible Chefs go to Simple Feast.