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Two San Diego Chefs Cook The World

Flying Pans contains recipes from around the world

Flying Pans

Flying Pans

Courtesy Photo
  • Flying Pans
  • Chefs Ron Oliver and  Bernard Guillas
  • Chefs Ron Oliver and Bernard Guillas
  • Bernard Guillas
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Late one night in early 2007, Executive Chef of La Jolla’s iconic Marine Room restaurant, Bernard Guillas had just returned from a trip to Singapore and was spending a few minutes in his office chatting with Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver. The topic of travel, a passion for both men, sent the two food wizards to a world map hanging on the wall, to tally up the number of countries each had visited. Chef Bernard counted at least 50, Chef Ron, over 40. That night the chefs cooked up their most ambitious culinary idea yet: a cookbook based on the flavors and experiences of their globe-trotting journeys.

Two and a half years later, Flying Pans, Two Chefs, One World made its first appearance in bookstores. In an era where many cooks merely go to the internet for recipe ideas, Flying Pans has sold over 10,000 copies and won two prestigious awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals; Best Cookbook Written by Chefs or Restaurateurs, and the People’s Choice Award. The gorgeously designed book was also a top three nominee for Gregory Bertolini’s photography and styling. Book Expo America named it one of the Top 10 Cookbooks of the Year. Pretty impressive for a self-written and self published first time effort.

What makes this cookbook unique is that it’s more than just a collection of recipes, it’s a travelogue of cultures and flavors of the places that inspired each dish. Whether it’s Chef Bernard’s description of the aromas and bustle of the hawker-lined streets of Semawis in Indonesia as a prologue to the recipe for Javanese Beef Satay, or Chef Ron’s account of elks, eagles and impressive scenery sighted along Canada’s eastern coast that accompanies the recipe for Brown Butter Roasted Diver Scallops.

Armchair travelers and world wanderers alike will find that the stories with each recipe are sure to spark a hunger to explore the far reaches of our planet and taste her endless bounty. Chef Bernard describes the book as, “a journey of discovery, of cultures and lifestyles, as seen from the perspective of the dish in front of you.”

Chef Ron says, “When you travel, if you want to really get to know a culture, the first thing you should do is ask people about their food. The markets are a great place to start, don’t be afraid to ask someone what something is or how to prepare it. I’ve found that most people are so proud of their culture and the food that exemplifies it, that they really want to share both the food and their stories. Often, the experience is as exciting for them as it is for us.”

Although the dishes featured in Flying Pans often sound exotic, Guillas and Oliver went to great pains to ensure that the cookbook is extremely user friendly and that the ingredients are readily available (they’ve even included a substitution index to encourage users to experiment with suggested items.) Presentation instructions are also included so that dishes prepared at home can look just like the luscious photographs in the book. Recipes are indexed both by country and ingredients.

“Another great thing about writing this cookbook”, notes Chef Bernard, “is the positive attention it brings to San Diego and our own culinary scene. When Ron or I travel to promote the book, appear on the Today Show, guest-chef on a Caribbean cruise, or participate in fundraisers throughout the country, Flying Pans provides the perfect platform for us to showcase our region.”

Signed and kissed copies of Flying Pans are available at the Marine Room, twochefsoneworld.com chefbernard.com and chefronoliver.com or at many of the personal appearances these traveling toques participate in. Unsigned copies are available at bookstores and Amazon.com