The 4-Hour Chef

In The 4-Hour Chef, #1 New York Times best-selling author (and lifelong non-cook) Tim Ferriss takes you from Manhattan to Okinawa, from Silicon Valley to Calcutta, unearthing the secrets of the world’s fastest learners and greatest chefs. Ferriss uses cooking to teach “meta-learning,” a step-by-step process that can be used to master anything, whether searing steak, speaking Spanish, or shooting 3-pointers in basketball.

That is the real “recipe” of The 4-Hour Chef.

Why Read This Book?

6 Reasons to Read This BookEven if You Hate Cooking

6 Reasons Slide 1

You’ll Learn How to Become World-Class in Any Skill in Record Time.

Whether you want to learn how to speak a new language in three months, how to shoot a three-pointer in one weekend, or how to memorize a deck of cards in less than a minute, the true “recipe” of this book is exactly that: a process for acquiring any skill. The vehicle I chose is cooking. Yes, I’ll teach you all the most flexible techniques of culinary school using 14 strategically chosen meals, all with four or fewer ingredients, and all taking 5-20 minutes to prepare (literally, The 4-Hour Chef). But I wrote this book to make you a master student of all things.

Tim demonstrating proper finger position.

6 Reasons Slide 2

Eating (And Life) Will Become High-Definition.

In China, a common greeting is “Chi le, mei you?” or “Have you eaten?” This is the universal check-in. So I pose the question to you: have you really eaten? I now realize that before writing 4HC, I hadn’t. Back then, food was either good or bad, hot or cold, spicy or not. Now, it’s a million colors, and I can pick out the subtleties: the cilantro or tarragon, the umami savoriness, or the lack of vinegar. It’s like going from a 7″ black-and-white TV to HD. Before 4HC, much of my life was in black and white. As you’ll see, the awareness we build in the kitchen and in related adventures will affect everything. Life itself becomes high-definition.

high definition rabbit.

6 Reasons Slide 3

You Will Get Into The Best Shape of Your Life.

The dishes you’ll learn, apart from desserts for “cheat day,” are all compliant with the Slow-Carb Diet, which has become a global phenomenon (page 74). Fat loss of 20 pounds in the first month is not uncommon. If you follow this book, you won’t have to think about following a diet, since it’s built in. If you ever decide to follow another diet, you’ll be twice as effective, because you’ll understand how to manipulate and maximize food.

woman in negligee.

6 Reasons Slide 4

It Doesn’t Take Much to Become Impressive.

In the first 24 hours, I’ll take you from burning scrambled eggs to osso buco, one of the most expensive menu items in the world. If 28% of Americans can’t cook at all, and if another third are on some variation of mac and cheese, having even one seemingly difficult meal up your sleeve puts you in rare company. Make that two bulletproof meals and you can host impressive dinner parties for the rest of your life.

delicious looking meal.

6 Reasons Slide 5

Cooking is The Mating Advantage.

If you’re looking to dramatically improve your sex life, or to catch and keep “the one,” cooking is the force multiplier. Food has a crucial role in well-planned seduction for both sexes, whether in long-term relationships (“MLBJ,” page 234) or on first dates (Sexy-Time Steak, page 186). For real romantic superpowers, learn how to teach the skill of tasting (Learning to “Taste”, page 50).

Old cooking magazine cover `Sex pots and pans`

6 Reasons Slide 6

Because It’s Fun.

The “practical” fails more than we’d like to admit. I’ll take breaks in this book as often as necessary to keep you amused. Food marathons? Check (page 468). Hysterical kitchen lore anecdotes? Tons. Eating 14,000 calories in 20 minutes (page 454)? Why not?

This isn’t a textbook. Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure book.

As Bruce Lee said, “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

illustrated chemist in lab.


The book is divided into a 5-step journey.

What are the 5 Steps?

The 4-Hour Chef is a 5-Step Journey
Through the Art and Science of Learning

Meta Learning

META Learning

META is where you’ll learn to mimic the world’s fastest learners.

It is  possible to become world-class in just about anything in six months or less. Armed with the right framework, you can seemingly perform miracles, whether with Spanish, swimming, or anything in between.

Meta Learning
Meta Learning
The Domestic

The Domestic

DOM is the mother lode.

As you complete 14 core lessons, each taking no more than 20 minutes of prep (for our total of roughly 4 hours), you will learn the principles needed to cook thousands of dishes. Furthermore, “gear” (pots, pans, etc.) is severely restricted and introduced slowly, making costs gradual. As chef Tom Colicchio, famed restaurateur and head judge on Top Chef, has said: almost anyone can become a great cook with unlimited time and budget.

We’ll constrain both and learn to do the absolute most with the least. What follows are the 80/20 keys to the culinary kingdom.

The Domestic
The Domestic
The Wild

The Wild

“WILD” is where we step out of the kitchen and, while learning new techniques, connect firsthand with ingredients. On a personal level, how do you go farm-to-plate or field-to-plate? Put another way, do you have what it takes to cope with an extended power outage or a long camping trip? This section is intended to make you uncomfortable. It will force you to question yourself, your limitations, and your beliefs. View it as an exercise.

The Wild
The Wild
The Scientist

The Scientist

SCI is the mad scientist and modernist painter wrapped into one. This is where you rediscover whimsy and wonder.

The Scientist
The Scientist
The Professional

The Professional

Swaraj, a term usually associated with Mahatma Gandhi, can be translated as “self-rule.” In PRO, we’ll look at how the best in the world become the best in the world, and how you can chart your own path far beyond this book.

The Professional
The Professional

Don’t like cooking? The 4-Hour Chef isn’t just a cookbook.
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure guide to the world of rapid learning.

Check the Highlights

Click Tabs

You’ll train inside the kitchen for everything outside the kitchen.

Featuring tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, pro athletes, master sommeliers, supermodels, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.

About The Author

The Author

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others) and the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. The Observer and other media have called Tim “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which is the first business/interview podcast to exceed 100 million downloads. It has now exceeded 500 million downloads.

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