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Article first published as Book Review: 'As Wild as It Gets: Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes' by Duke Moscrip and Bill Ranniger on Blogcritics.

August 4, 2016

As Wild as It Gets: Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes
Duke Moscrip & Chef “Wild” Bill Ranniger
Aviva Publishing (2016)
ISBN: 978-1-9431643-2-5

Seattle’s Favorite Seafood Restaurant’s Secret Recipes Revealed in Beautiful New Book

As Wild as It Gets: Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes by Duke Moscrip & Chef “Wild” Bill RannigerIf you’re a seafood aficionado, you’ve likely heard of Duke’s Chowder House—one of, if not the, most popular seafood restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, it’s so popular it’s grown into a chain of six restaurants. And now its owner Duke Moscrip and Chef “Wild Bill Ranniger” have written a new book, As Wild as It Gets: Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes to bring their mouth-watering treats to a wider public.

Duke Moscrip has been delighting food lovers with his amazing meals for decades. And for years, customers have asked for his recipes. Now, he’s finally ready to reveal them all—whether it’s Duke’s Coltrane Coleslaw, multiple ideas for salmon or halibut, appetizers, dessert, or cocktails, Hanky Panky Prawns, or “I Want You So Bad” Marionberry Pie, you will find whatever tickles your taste buds in these pages. Aided by the restaurant’s longtime chef, “Wild” Bill Ranniger, every dish and delightful treat you could possibly imagine is presented in easy-to-follow recipes that will have you cooking up first class meals for your family and your dinner parties. There’s even a handy cloth bookmarker attached so you don’t lose your place while you’re busy stirring, dicing, and sautéing.

But don’t stop there—As Wild as It Gets is far more than just another recipe book. It’s a chronicle of a Seattle institution. And you would be hard-pressed to find a book anywhere that is so visually stunning. The incredible photographs by Ingrid Pape-Sheldon make the salmon practically jump off the page—pure pleasure for the eyeballs—you’ll be salivating and hear your stomach growling just looking at all that food laid out on Duke’s signature blue-checkered tablecloths.

And even if you don’t like to cook, as long as you enjoy eating, you will be impressed with all the additional treats in these pages that go way beyond recipes. At the heart of the book is Duke Moscrip himself, and he personally envisioned it to be more than just a book—it is his legacy for generations of seafood lovers to come. Sprinkled among the recipes are countless photos of Duke and his restaurant’s past triumphs, from Duke holding giant fish catches to vintage restaurant ads. And best of all, there are essays by Duke about his love for great food, his methods in serving it, and his mission to keep his customers happy.

Numerous other pieces were written by the companies that supply Duke’s Chowder House with the foods it cooks up. These essays are not only fascinating background reading, but a testament to the amazingly devoted restaurant owner that Duke is. His commitment to serving only the very best to his customers shines through in stories of how he has gone out on fishing boats with the crews that supply him with seafood so he can experience firsthand the process and ensure that only the freshest produce makes its way to the plates he serves his restaurant patrons.

Chef “Wild” Bill also gets into the act, talking about his childhood fishing and hauling in crab pots. “I used to be afraid of these tasty dudes, with their funky little eyes, barbed legs and claws,” he tells us. But he grew out of it and learned how to cook up crabs as soon as they were brought back to shore.

Nor does Duke ignore the people who make his restaurant’s daily operations possible. There are photos and descriptions of all the chefs, his son and business partner, John, and the restaurant’s corporate team. There’s even an essay by Duke’s daughter, Amy, reminiscing about how he made the best lunchbox sandwiches for her when she was a kid. And yes, Duke tells the story of how he got his nickname, Duke, as well as sharing when he tried out for the Sonics—complete with a photograph of him in uniform.

In short, anyone who loves succulent seafood, loves a great restaurant, and loves to know that there are people like Duke who absolutely love what they do with a passion that mere words cannot convey will love this book. And at 384 pages filled with food and stories—there’s a lot to love! So curl up with a plate of Duke’s Clammy Faye Clams, and get ready for a truly culinary reading delight.

For more information about Duke Moscrip, Duke’s Chowder House, and As Wild as It Gets, visit www.DukesChowderHouse.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Narrow Lives and The Best Place

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