Book Review: The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook

From opening day to the present, the Waldorf-Astoria has been synonymous with style, luxury and service. A crucial part of this overall package of excellence has been the three restaurants which typically serve upwards of one million meals a year. From these, Executive Chef John Doherty has selected 120 recipes that highlight their distinctive style and presentation while making allowances for the limitations of the home cook.

Breakfast leads the recipes, opening with an in-house favorite “Breakfast Lemon Cake” and “Corn Muffins with Cheddar Cheese and Chives”, both easy enough for beginning cooks. The “Eggs Baked in Prosciutto Cups” makes a stunning presentation while the “Raspberry Irish Oatmeal Brulee” raises humble oatmeal to the sublime.

A collection of signature mixed drinks and tasty appetizers is followed by an array of soups ranging from homey “Lentil with Italian Sausage” and “Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions, Apple and Curried Shrimp” to the mouthwatering Spanish classic “Summer White Gazpacho with Lobster Brochettes”. Naturally, the all time most requested recipe for “Waldorf Salad” is included along with “Oscar’s Spicy Asian Chicken Salad and Ginger-Chive Dressing”. “Chili-Crusted Venison with Chocolate Sauce, Red Cabbage and Spaetzle” will change your mind about eating game while the “BBQ Pulled Pork” hides a deadly version macaroni and cheese enriched with white wine and four different cheeses. Dessert at the Waldorf is arguably the highpoint of the meal and thankfully many of their signature treats like “Red Velvet Cake” and the ever popular “Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies” have been adapted for home kitchens.

Sumptuous photography shows off the many excellent examples of Art Deco found throughout the hotel along with the food. Historical memorabilia including Doherty’s recollections and photos with four U.S. Presidents, colorful old menus and more adds background while providing a peek into the hotel’s inner workings and shows how the kitchen staff live their motto “The difficult immediately, the impossible takes a few minutes longer.”


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