Over the past two years, local author John Schlimm of St. Marys has been working with Harrah’s Entertainment in producing the newly released “The Seven Stars Cookbook”, featuring recipes from world-class casino restaurants.
The 320-page hardcover, coffee table book is an upscale publication featuring 25 recipes, cooking and kitchen tips, menu ideas and facts about the company’s history and operations.
Over 100 glossy photos capture the essence of the dishes, which were obtained from nearly 100 chefs from each of Harrah’s three dozen properties across the U.S.
“Two years ago during ‘The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook’ tour, a lightbulb went off that I was surrounded with the most talented, most creative chefs in the world and ideas were percolating about putting these men and women who rock the kitchen on the bookshelf,” Schlimm said. “I wanted to have more than just recipes, but wanted to get to the core of their expertise.”
Schlimm worked closely with a Harrah’s liaison in compiling information for the book.
“They jumped on board and were excited about showcasing their culinary talent,” he said.
As part of the process, an open call went out to all Harrah’s chefs.
“We had close to 500 recipes to work with that came in,” Schlimm said. “This is the first time all of the properties came together for a project.”
Several famed chefs are featured in the book. Celebrity Chef Paula Deen wrote the foreword. There are also recipes from renowned chefs John Besh, Bobby Flay, Bradley Ogden, Francois Payard, Paul Prudhomme, Guy Savoy and many others.
“I’ve always been a huge supporter of chefs. I have great respect and admiration for them. They work so hard at what they do,” Schlimm said.
He explained that a majority of the work on the book was conducted in his home office, where he communicated with various sources via e-mail. Schlimm also visited numerous Harrah’s properties as part of the process.
“This book represents tens of thousands of e-mails between myself, the chefs and the restaurants in putting it together,” he said. “From the first draft I read through it no fewer than 200 times.”
Schlimm boasted about the book’s colorful photography by San Francisco-based photographer Frankie Frankeny, who was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in the U.S.” by “Entertainment Weekly” magazine.
“The photography transfers the book into a work of art,” Schlimm said.
The cookbook’s recipes include 13 appetizers, 11 salads, 14 soups, 15 side dishes, 14 beef and pork dishes, eight poultry dishes, eight pasta dishes, 17 fish and seafood dishes and six breakfast buffet dishes. The VIP Luncheon section features seven appetizers, four main dishes and 14 desserts, while the High Rollers’ Bar includes 15 drink concoctions.
Harrah’s chefs also submitted an array of “Top 10” lists. Among the 36 lists are items every kitchen and bar should have; general tips on planning a creative menu; helpful hints for choosing fruits and vegetables; how to maintain an organized kitchen; pairing beverages with food; seasonal cooking; choosing fresh seafood; common mistakes to avoid in the kitchen; thoughtful gifts for your host and hostess; and dream kitchen appliances for chefs.