Once Upon A Chef: 100 Perfected Recipes

Once Upon A Chef
100 Tested, Perfected,
and Family-Approved Recipes

Recipe Included: Banana Pancakes
Article by Linda Kissam

Photos Courtesy of Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018

I am sorry I didn’t get to this review earlier.  It would have made my Christmas Book Buy list. But since I didn’t, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day is coming up and this would be a winner of a gift. It would make a great addition to any one’s cookbook collection.

Once Upon A Chef, 100 Tested, Perfected, and Family-Approved Recipes may be a bit beyond the novice cook, but then again it’s a great learning tool for everyone. I think home cooks who want to reach the next level in their kitchen prowess will love this book. The recipes use familiar ingredients and the length of each recipe is easily manageable for most of us. It has a mix of original recipes and some “redo” recipes from famous restaurants like Tommy Bahama’s. I think you’ll find with each recipe you try, your cooking game improves.  I can’t say that about most cookbooks.


Each recipe has a gorgeous photo so you know exactly what success looks like. The book is splashed with short notes and tips from Ms. Segal helping the cook get the most out of the recipe and the cooking experience. The notes are short and concise so you’re not spending half your time wading through mountains of information. The recipes are nicely balanced from easy to “fancy.”

As background, Once Upon a Time author Jenn Segal has some solid credentials. She attended culinary school and then worked in high end restaurants. She now lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and two children.

Her popular blog, Once Upon a Chef, is a great foodie portal to explore. It’s a good place to get acquainted with her considerable chef skills, recipes, and to see how she prepares delicious, fresh, and accessible ingredients for everyone-friendly meals. I think once you go there you will see why the 100 recipes in her newest book is a must have or must gift cookbook. I think you’ll be grabbing this book off your shelf, so keep it up front and center.

Jennifer Segal

The contents are separated into nine chapters like starters & snacks to salads, breakfast & brunch and even cocktails.  My favorite recipes include joanne’s refrigerator dill pickles, ahi tuna with avocado & rice cake, celery, toasted walnut & pecorino salad, Peruvian chicken with green sauce, banana pancakes, and mojito jelly shots. As you can see, diversity is the name of the game. If you can’t find a recipe here that catches your fancy, you’re just not trying.

Take a test run of this foodie friendly cookbook by trying this banana pancakes recipe. It’s one of my favorites. Really, how can you not like crispy but subtly flavored pancakes dressed with bananas and vanilla? It’s drool worthy.

The recipe is adapted from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. I love a woman who can appreciate a good recipe when she sees it and isn’t afraid to tweak it to her own standards. Just 12 ingredients and 4 steps and you’re on your way to a great breakfast.

Reprinted from Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018

Banana Pancakes

FLUFFY ON THE INSIDE, crispy on the outside, and delicately flavored with bananas and vanilla—these are amazing pancakes. The recipe, believe it or not, is adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s The Kid’s Cookbook, so you know they’re simple to make. I like to top them with a heap of fresh sliced bananas to dress them up and hint at what’s inside.

Makes twelve 4‑in [10‑cm] pancakes

11/2 cups [190 g] all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

21/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 small, overripe banana (the browner, the better)

2 eggs

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp [270 ml] milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Unsalted butter, for frying

Vegetable oil, for frying

Pure maple syrup and sliced bananas (optional), for serving

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork until almost smooth. Whisk in the eggs. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour the banana mixture and melted butter into the flour mixture. Fold the batter gently with a rubber spatula until just blended; do not overmix. The batter should be thick and a bit lumpy.
  3. Set a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Put ½ tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on the griddle and swirl it around until the butter is melted. Using a 2-oz [60-ml] ladle or ¼-cup [60-g] dry measure, drop the batter onto the griddle, spacing the pancakes about 2 in [5 cm] apart. Cook until a few holes form on the top of each pancake and the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are puffed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to a warm serving plate.
  4. Wipe the griddle clean with paper towels, add more butter and oil, and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes while still hot, topped with maple syrup and sliced bananas (if using).

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Chronicle Books, Released April 24, 2018, $29.95

Purchase Once Upon A Chef https://amzn.to/2RKiyqS

Blog: https://www.onceuponachef.com/