This is a book for the intermediate cook. The principles are both basic, and essential. The book is really what the title says it is, a book about thinking.Colicchio wrote this well before Top Chef. It's a book about building meals, balancing flavors. Colicchio runs restaurants, and production thinking is quite different from doing a meal at home, but some of it does apply. How, and when to salt, what flavors blend together, and which stand hard apart from each other.Coliccho says, "I learned to cook to get away from recipes", and that is the purpose he's working toward. The reader, he hopes, will learn the ways of seeing that make it possible to work in the kitchen without a net.There are other technique books out there; and they are useful, but learning how to break a chicken down into parts, or how to make pate a choux, won't make one a "chef", because those are how, this is about what, and why.If you are already comfortable without recipes this may not be the book for you. I enjoyed it. The prose is clean, the style engaging. I can't say as I learned a great deal from it, because many of the lessons, I'd already learned. And that may be the books greatest weakness, it's neither basic, nor terribly advanced. It's a great stepping-off point, but the people who will gain the most from it are probably not the people likely to buy it (though with since Top Chef this may not be quite the case: anyone who is interested in how he judges food will find this illuminating).