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|Born||July 28, 1963 (age 53)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Genre||Non-fiction, food writing|
He has written 21 books of mostly non-fiction, the best known of which have been in collaboration with American chefs.
Michael Carl Ruhlman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was educated at University School, a private boys' day school in Cleveland's suburbs, and at Duke University, from which he graduated in 1985.
Ruhlman worked a series of odd jobs (including a brief stint at The New York Times) and traveled before returning to his hometown in 1991, to work for a local magazine.
While working at the magazine, Ruhlman wrote an article about his old high school and its new headmaster, which he expanded into his first book, Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education (1996).
For his second book, The Making of a Chef (1997), Ruhlman enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, taking a variety of classes but not graduating, to produce a first-person account—of the techniques, personalities, and mindsets—of culinary education at the prestigious chef's school. The success of this book produced two follow-ups, The Soul of a Chef (2000) and The Reach of a Chef (2006).
Ruhlman has also collaborated with chef Thomas Keller to produce the cookbooks The French Laundry Cookbook (1999), Bouchon (2004), Under Pressure (2008), and Ad Hoc At Home (2009); with French chef Eric Ripert and Colombian artist Valentino Cortazar to produce the lavish coffee-table book A Return to Cooking (2002); and with Michigan chef Brian Polcyn to produce Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing (2005). In 2009 Ruhlman also collaborated with fellow Clevelander and Iron Chef Michael Symon on Symon's first cookbook Live to Cook.
In 2007, he produced The Elements of Cooking based on the structure of the classic grammar book The Elements of Style. The book includes essays about the importance of fundamentals in cooking such as heat, salt and stock, along with a reference guide to cooking terms. Much of the insight in the book is based on his previous food-related experiences at the Culinary Institute of America and from working with celebrity chefs.
In 2009, he published Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, a book that explores basic preparations—bread, pie dough, custards—and explains that knowing the proportions of the ingredients by weight can free users from strict adherence to recipes.
Ruhlman has eagerly embraced social and digital media in his mission to encourage more people to cook food for themselves and their friends and family, creating, with digital media expert Will Turnage, the Ratio App for smart phones, and Bread Baking Basics for the iPad and Kindle Fire.
In 2011, he published Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook's Manifesto, a book distilling cooking to its 20 basic techniques. Ruhlman's Twenty: The Ideas and Techniques that Will Make You a Better Cook won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the general cooking category and the International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook award in the Food and Beverage Reference/Technical category.
In tmid-2012, Ruhlman published Salumi, a follow-up to Charcuterie about Italian dry-cured Italian meats, which he wrote with Brian Polcyn. The Bouchon Bakery cookbook, another collaboration with Thomas Keller and the TKRG team, was released in the fall of 2012. Ruhlman also released his first Kindle single book called "The Main Dish" which is about his long journey to become a food writer and then "The Book of Schmaltz: A Love Song to a Forgotten Fat" a single-subject cookbook devoted to the ingredient called schmaltz; rendered chicken fat flavored with onion which is popular in Jewish cuisine. "Schmaltz" was released as an app in December 2012 and was published as a hardcover book in August 2013.
In spring, 2014, he published Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient. In late 2014, he published Ruhlman's How To Roast: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook, the first in a series of short books devoted to cooking technique rather than recipes. The second, How To Braise, was published in the spring of 2015.
In the fall of 2015, he published his first fiction, In Short Measures: Three Novellas, stories about love in middle age and his first non-food-related work since his 2005 memoir.
Ruhlman has acted as a judge on the PBS reality show Cooking Under Fire and on The Next Iron Chef. He has also made several appearances in shows hosted by Anthony Bourdain. In Bourdain's A Cook's Tour he joined Bourdain and Eric Ripert for a meal at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry restaurant. In Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations he appeared in five episodes: one devoted to Las Vegas, one devoted to Ruhlman's native Cleveland, one devoted to New York's Hudson Valley, a 2010 holiday special, and one, "Heartland", that highlights lesser-known, restaurants across the country. In 2014 Ruhlman appeared in the Las Vegas episode of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Ruhlman co-founded a small company in 2011 that manufactures and finds unique and hard to find cooking tools. He teamed up with a childhood friend, Mac Dalton to form Dalton-Ruhlman LLC. The company designs and self-manufactures unique tools that have emerged from brainstorming in the kitchen. The focus is on high quality products that enhance the craft of cooking in the home. It has also located, and occasionally promotes products that are manufactured by others but only when they meet the criteria of being unique, hard to find and extremely utilitarian for the home cook or professional chef. While the lure of retail distribution in box stores around America is ever present the company has chosen to build its customer base directly from its own online store Dalton-Ruhlman Store.
- Boys Themselves (1996)
- The Making of a Chef (1997)
- The French Laundry Cookbook (1999) by Thomas Keller, with Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman
- The Soul of a Chef (2000)
- Wooden Boats (2001)
- A Return to Cooking (2002), with Eric Ripert and Valentino Cortazar
- Walk On Water: Inside an Elite Pediatric Surgical Unit (2003)
- Bouchon (2004) by Thomas Keller and Jeffrey Cerciello, with Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman
- Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing (2005) by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- House: A Memoir (2005)
- The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen (2006)
- The Elements of Cooking (2007)
- Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide (2008)
- Ratio (2009)
- Ad Hoc at Home (2009) by Thomas Keller, Michael Ruhlman
- Live to Cook (2009) by Michael Symon, with Michael Ruhlman
- Ruhlman's Twenty (2011)
- Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing (2012) by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- Bouchon Bakery (2012) by Thomas Keller, Sebastian Rouxel, Michael Ruhlman
- The Main Dish (2012)
- The Book of Schmaltz: A Love Song to a Forgotten Fat (2012)
- Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient (2014)
- How To Roast : foolproof techniques and recipes for the home cook (2014)
- How To Braise (2015)
- In Short Measures: Three Novellas (2015)
- How To Sauté (2016)