The guide to cooking with fire and feeding a crowd, restaurateur Ben Ford gives step-by-step instructions with photos and illustrations so that you can grill, smoke, or roast the whole beast outdoors—or prepare a “tamed” version of the feast in your home kitchen.
Cook big. Play with fire. Get your hands dirty.
Chef Ben Ford is known for wowing crowds with his handcrafted feasts of enormous proportions—a whole pig roast, paella for eighty, burgers for the block. Now, in Taming the Feast, his complete guide to outdoor grilling, smoking, and roasting, Ford divulges his secrets for nine jaw-dropping feasts for the adventurous home cook and DIY enthusiast.
From mouthwatering Texas-style barbecue to Wood-Fired Paella, these entertaining blueprints can be used to throw a party for the whole neighborhood or an intimate dinner for four. A culinary MacGyver, Ford also provides unique complete do-it-yourself primers for making simple custom outdoor cookers that coax the ultimate flavor out of salmon, pig, rabbit, burgers, bratwurst, turkey, and lamb. Here are easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, drawings, and timelines for constructing a baking barrel, cinder-block oven, smoking shed, and roasting box in your own backyard.
Ford’s food reflects his passion for artisanal techniques, innovative combinations of flavors, and seasonal ingredients. Delicious sides, including Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds, and Arugula, Persimmon Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Pecans, Cheddar Cheese Loaf with Artisanal Ham and Spicy Brown Mustard, complement hearty main dishes. Each feast ends on a playful note with delicious desserts like classic S’mores with homemade marshmallows and graham crackers and Coconut and Banana Cream "Pies." Each chapter also includes creative recipes to make use of the leftovers you’re sure to have.
Taming the Feast is further enlivened by gorgeous photography and Ford’s stories of growing up with his father Harrison Ford, then a carpenter, and his life as chef at some of California’s most celebrated restaurants working under such pillars of California cuisine as Alice Waters, Paul Bertolli, David Tanis, Nancy Silverton, Mark Peel, and Eberhard Müller.
Whether you are hosting a pig roast, a fish fry, or a backyard barbecue family reunion, you can be sure everyone will leave your party entertained, well fed, and raving about the food.
Ben Ford is the executive chef and owner of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, and an outpost at Los Angeles International Airport. He worked at Chez Panisse, Berkeley, and Campanile, Los Angeles, before opening his own restaurant. Ford lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Emily, and two sons.
Carolynn Carreño is a James Beard award–winning writer for magazines including Bon Appétit, Saveur, The Los Angeles Times, Gourmet, and Food & Wine and coauthor of books with chefs Nancy Silverton, Kenny Shopsin, and Sara Foster. Her cookbooks are known for their distinct voice and storytelling style.
"Ben Ford has knocked the ball out of the park with Taming the Feast. It's the book that every real man needs. This ain't about molecular tweezer food. This is a book for the outdoor cooking enthusiast. Ben Ford is so generous with how to information and gutsy delicious recipes meant for large gatherings."
“Whether you are feeling adventurous, or have only a half hour to spare, you can find a great recipe in Ben’s first book. All his food has the same mission: treating fresh ingredients with lots of love and serving them with lively party-perfect presentations."
"I'm from LA but I moved away for a long time to find myself through cooking. When I moved back, the first thing I searched out was Ford's Filling Station. Ben was at the forefront of moving LA into a sustainable frame of mind in regards to cooking and eating and living, for that matter. Looking through this book I find traces of all of those philosophies; from being resourceful to using the whole animal or whole plant. I only wish I could throw a party like Ben."
"Taming The Feast is a welcome return to the roots of cooking, and celebrates one of the most pleasurable and rewarding of activities: Gathering around a fire, creating honest, rustic food, and sharing it with friends."
"As you will soon discover when you open its pages, this is no ordinary cookbook -- Where have you ever encountered a recipe that starts with “40 pounds ground beef”? Ben Ford thinks big. In this book he shares his highly personalized art of making feasts for many at once, a kind of family-style for the whole neighborhood. Skilled chef, carpenter and performance artist, Ben’s food is rooted in the values of sustainability, the use of live fire and time-tested methods and a generosity of spirit. Taming the Feast is full of lip-smacking side dishes to the central feast and much sound practical information. Most importantly, this book illustrates the fundamental tenet that great food, no matter the cuisine or the theme, is always simple food."
"Ben Ford's Taming the Feast is a true celebration of what's right in the world of food; friends, family and good old fashioned ingenuity. Ben's exceptional approach to cooking lays the ground work for the party you've always dreamed of."
“Those with an appreciation for large get-togethers will have a field day with Ben Ford’s guide to toothsome feasts in this impressive…collection of epic dinners…Ford’s practical step-by-step instructions and timelines are clear and to the point.”
“Chef Ben Ford from the American family that defines adventure has created a cookbook that will turn our country favorite the backyard bbq into a safari of delicious flavors for the palate and for the senses. Don't forget your bull whip!”
“Wonderfully inventive, Ford’s unique approach to his craft is inspirational; his imagination and creativity know no limits. This highly engaging book will make you want to feast!”
"Ben Ford's new book fires on all cylinders – it demystifies and makes plain how to cook a whole-beast feast. Ben’s clear-cut methodology is simple, fun and exciting. The fragrance of cooking and serving feast and beast exudes from this beautiful cookbook."
"I have loved Bens food and have been inspired by it for years, and now he is finally going to share it with the world, along with the ability to cook it for large gatherings. This passionate book is a "must" for anyone who entertains in large groups. The book not only has delicious and fun recipes, it is extremely helpful and unique with its timelines and in constructing these large cooking projects. It's all in the details and he hasn't missed anything here."
"I have always been a huge fan of Ben's work but recently his style, cooking and organic way of treating ingredients is more infectious and desirable than ever! I just love how he presents each chapter of this book as a full menu, an experience if you will into his life in food that is truly so honest and in the moment. I cant wait to dig into each recipe as I turn every page."
"This is a book that shows even the most experienced griller some new methods and techniques. It is a literal feast of information on how to make yourself and a bunch of friends very happy with food. Replete with sketches, diagrams and blueprints, it is a chef's notebook of smart menus and thoughts. Ben is carving into new territory with Taming the Feast."
"With Taming the Feast, Ben Ford teaches readers how to prepare his delicious recipes for a crowd. This is an epic book that delves into large format feasts, so if you've always wanted to throw the party of the century, go buy this book! Ben's instruction and recipes will make you the master of any outdoor cook-off."
"Ben Ford is a special kind of chef. Quietly cooking way out ahead of the curve for the last decade, his fun and approachable, smart food is now front and center in Taming the Feast. Big flavor has always been a fall back for chefs that don't bring it any other way, but Ben marries technique and flavor in a way that is supremely keyed in to the way we cook at home today. For some chefs that's just book spin. Ben is a chef, father and a husband who happens to be a huge culinary talent as well. Cook, eat and read this book!"