Cook the Book: 'Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes'

20090629burgersfries%26shakes.jpgDo you ever wonder what chefs eat? You'd think that with access to a well-stocked walk-in and state-of-the-art kitchen they would eat exceptionally well, on par or better than the food that we pay for in their restaurants. You might think that it is all white truffles, foie gras, and vintage Bordeaux—but the reality is a bit bleaker.

Chefs are usually too busy preparing for service to sit down to a proper meal. Days start early, end late, and there is no lunch hour. When the clock strikes 10 or 11 p.m., or later depending on what time the restaurant closes, chances are the people who've made your dinner have had nothing more than a few spoonfuls of food (to ensure proper seasoning) and perhaps a few bites of family meal. This brings us back to the original question, what do chefs eat?

To answer this question why don't we look to a chef, or even better the celebrity chef Bobby Flay? In the introduction to Burgers, Fries & Shakes, Flay writes that his all-time favorite meal is a cheeseburger with fries and a shake. He likes to eat simple things, and most of his favorite foods fall into the late-night cuisine category: pizza, tacos, sandwiches, and of course, burgers.

We all know Bobby Flay. He's a huge television star, a celebrity chef, and a restaurateur with places in New York, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Bahamas. His most recent venture, Bobby's Burger Palace, is a chain of burger joints with locations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Bobby's Burger Palace is a realization of a long time dream, a place that doesn't just serve burgers but is all about them (and the fries and shakes, too.)

Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes lays out the basic guidelines for making the perfect burgers, shakes, and fries at home and expands on them. Everyday this week we will be sharing recipes with you for basics like Bobby's Perfect Burger and Perfect Fries along with variations on these classics, such as the Bolo Burger and Plantain Shoestring Fries.

Don't worry—we aren't going to leave out the shakes or condiments either. How about a Fresh Mint-Chocolate Speckled Milkshake or some Homemade Dill Pickles to go with your burger? Caroline Russock

Win 'Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes'

Thanks to the good folks at Clarkson Potter, we are giving away five (5) copies of Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes this week. All you have to do is tell us about your all-time favorite burger in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, July 6 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.