Book Review: The Recipes Behind the Restaurants

Some favorite cookbooks from some favorite local eateries

Tyson Cole and Jessica Dupuy
Tyson Cole and Jessica Dupuy (Photo by John Anderson)

Uchi: The Cookbook

The Recipes Behind the Restaurants

by Tyson Cole and Jessica Dupuy
University of Texas Press, 276 pp., $39.95

I fell in love with Tyson Cole's cuisine just months after Uchi opened. I've been a devoted customer since, and I have followed the making of this cookbook with great interest. Turns out it has exceeded every expectation. Thanks to Jessica Dupuy, who guided and polished the text while allowing Cole's voice to come through, reading the book is like talking to Cole in person. Dupuy truly brings the Uchi and Uchiko experience to life in these pages, and just like the food at both restaurants, the book is visually stunning, with impressive images by local photographer Rebecca Fondren.

The book starts with a retrospective account of Cole's cooking background, influences, and philosophy, leading up to the birth and evolution of his restaurants. Next is a chapter on components, known as yakumi in Japanese, which is what truly defines his culinary style. Rather than using traditional yakumi, which are specific for each cut of fish, he steps outside the box with components of his own creation: bacon candy, fish sauce gelée, uni butter, and jasmine water sorbet, to name a few, which the restaurants use to construct their dishes. Cole explains them in such a way that it actually seems possible to replicate them at home with help from certain special kitchen equipment, like a vacuum sealer or dehydrator. The next chapters feature daily specials, menu items, and dessert recipes. While some are clearly complicated, others are quite approachable, and sharing them shows me that Cole and his staff have nothing to hide. Named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in 2005, Cole won a James Beard Award for Best New Chef in the Southwest just last week. He has succeeded because he's never taken himself too seriously, truly loves what he does, and has always given credit to the rest of his team, especially Executive Chef Paul Qui and pastry chef Philip Speer. I look forward to playing with this book, attempting some favorites, and maybe creating my own dishes based on the inspiration it provides.

  • The Recipes Behind the Restaurants

    Make your restaurant favorites in your favorite footed jammies, for all we care
  • Maria's Taco Xpress

    Have a handmade and heartfelt memento from Taco Xpress

    Sweetish Hill

    These recipes will sweeten your life

    Eastside Cafe

    Eastside Cafe has become a byword for quality dining, and its cookbook collection makes it possible to recreate the experience at home

    Hudson's on the Bend

    As a cookbook, it is factual and substantive. As a memento of Hudson's on the Bend, it is superb.
  • Fonda San Miguel

    This book is a must for every longtime Austin resident and for all fans of true Mexican cuisine


    These folks take dinner and supper seriously

    Lake Austin Spa Resort

    Learn to adapt fatty recipes into less-lethal versions
More Uchi
Austin's beloved cheese shop expands

Virginia B. Wood, Feb. 3, 2012

Desserts at Uchi
Desserts at Uchi

Virginia B. Wood, July 25, 2008

More Uchiko
Chef Tyson Cole and company continue redefining 'revelatory' at Uchiko

Kate Thornberry, Nov. 12, 2010

More Food Reviews
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Sit down with a book when it's too hot to cook

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More by Claudia Alarcón
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Uchi, Uchiko, Tyson Cole, Rebecca Fondren, yakumi, sushi, Paul Qui, Philip Speer

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