Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James P. DeWan  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: in

-- Website --
-- James P. DeWan on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

DeWan lives on Chicago's northwest side.

Biographical and Professional Information

James P. DeWan is a chef, award-winning culinary instructor and award-winning food writer. He turned a one-time invitation to contribute to the Chicago Tribune into a regular Good Eating section. He also wrote for numerous other local and national publications, including Plate Magazine, North Shore Magazine and Restaurants and Institutions.As his presence on the culinary scene grew, he earned a degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). He went on to became a writing instructor, and later joined the culinary faculty there. Since 2008 he's served on the faculty of Kendall College's School of Culinary Arts, rated one of the top 10 culinary programs in the country. He was the recipient of that school's 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award.His monthly Chicago Tribune column, ''Prep School'', offers in-depth and lighthearted instruction in classic culinary methods and techniques. A collection of his columns were published in ebook form in the fall of 2012, where it reached the #1 position on Amazon's Top 100 Professional Cooking chart. A hardcover edition was published in 2013. He is also the author, with Jeffrey Elliot, of ''The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care
ISBN: 0778802566

Robert Rose. 2010

The definitive book on knife skills from the knife manufacturer recognized worldwide as the symbol of the best quality and function.

Every home chef needs a knife skills book. Cooks who know how to choose a knife, how to maintain it and how to use it properly work more safely, more quickly and more efficiently. Good knife skills also allow a cook to cut ingredients uniformly, allowing everything to cook at the same rate and creating the best presentation in the final dish.

The authors' unique approach in this book stems from their experience in the culinary classroom, where they observed how people learn. Elliot and DeWan refined their teaching process based on this vast experience.

Some of the features in the book are:

  • More than 1,200 color step-by-step photos that clearly instruct and provide information on each technique
  • Instructions on proper knife sharpening techniques
  • Arrows and other graphic devices that direct the reader to the exact photo on the page and the precise skill illustrated
  • A concealed wiro binding that lies flat, keeping a cook's fingers on the knife, where they safely belong
  • Concise, detailed and easy-to-understand instructions on how to hold a knife, the basic cuts and the proper techniques for cutting poultry, fish and specific vegetables and fruits, and creative garnishes
  • Coverage of Japanese-style knives and cutting techniques
  • Concise history of knives and knife-making

The Complete Book of Knife Skills was created in collaboration with Zwilling J.A. Henckels, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality knives. This indispensable reference will allow home cooks to teach themselves knife skills based on professional instructors' years of experience.

Prep School: How to Improve Your Kitchen Skills and Cooking Techniques
ISBN: 1572841982

Agate Surrey. 2016

Finalist for 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals' Best Compilation Cookbook Award

Prep School is the ultimate collection of the weekly Chicago Tribune column of the same name, written by culinary instructor and award-winning food writer James P. DeWan. This compilation is focused on teaching readers how to become better cooks, from amateurs who are learning to cook for themselves or their families to professional and gourmet chefs who are searching to perfect their technique. Illustrated with full-color photography and a plethora of simple, plainspoken instructions, Prep School is an easy go-to guide for becoming more adept at any kitchen skill.

Prep School is filled with more than 50 delicious recipes, as well as insightful and straightforward tips on knife skills, preparation techniques, pantry essentials, holiday meals, and general advice on how to make your kitchen as user-friendly as possible. Before any home cook or professional chef picks up a cookbook, they should first pick up Prep School and be sure to take DeWan's advice to heart. His recommendations on improving kitchen efficiency and ease, along with his in-depth knowledge of shortcuts and cooking common sense, make DeWan the perfect teacher for any aspiring culinary student.


''Prep School

Speaking Engagements

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