Top Secret Recipes Unlocked is a hands down recommendation from your’s truly. Todd Wilbur, chef and author of this wonderful book, does a superb job of entertaining while instructing. I was amused before I even started cooking. Todd Wilbur is a best-selling QVC cookbook author. He’s appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, and Good Morning America. Wilbur has an amusing humor that makes the cooking fun and more exciting than making our favorites outside the restaurant already is, and he has this ability about him that helps those of us that shy from the kitchen to forget that, oh yeah, we’re in the kitchen concocting experiments. This cookbook is entertaining and, shit, the motivation is all in the recipes if Wilbur didn’t already add that. This cookbook is listed with many of our top favorite recipes that we just wish we could make at home rather than take the 30-minute drive to their corresponding franchise, take a seat, greet the waiter, tip the waiter, and so on—or we just want to stay in and get fat for a day. The recipes come from major brands like KFC, Starbucks, Popeye’s, Taco Bell, and more. Well, they are replicated to the best of Wilbur’s ability, and when I say, “to the best of Wilbur’s ability,” this should come as relief and not panic. Wilbur does a fantastic job of myth busting the popular DIY replicas we find on the internet that turn into peanut butter mush rather than peanut butter crumble shakes.
At a glance, I don’t find the cover to be all that attractive. It’s setup reminds me of TV Guide or a tabloid splattering images at you, but after a closer look it gains more appeal as they’re images of food favorites from KFC, Wendy’s, and Burger King spread across its cover. Along with the food sits an image of the author, Todd Wilbur, inspecting a slice of pizza with a magnifying glass, signifying he really did some investigating and dabbling to get these recipes as close as possible. Inside, with the recipes, are included detailed drawings and dimensions to help you pick the right dishes and ingredients to use. He really does a good job of explaining how things are to be done correctly. The Table of Contents is organized in alphabetical order and by dishes from which major chain like Starbucks, Ragu, Heinz, Jack in The Box, KFC, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Panera, Popeyes, and Sonic. If you’re looking for a specific kind of meal (pork roast night, meatloaf, vegetarian delight, etc.) this probably isn’t the cookbook for you. But, if you’re looking for some fan favorites and new things to try, this is definitely the cookbook for you.
This cookbook has a wide range of recipes to try. Having a Super Bowl party or a little get together? Make some Top Secret Recipes’ KFC Cajun Honey Wings and some Burger King-style Onion Rings. Hey, throw in some BK-style Zesty Onion Ring Sauce along with them. You won’t regret it. In the mood for one of those hefty, greasy unnecessarily overloaded burgers? Try making your own Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar burger. Feeling like your life has been missing some greens? Go ahead and make Chick-Fil-A’s Carrot and Raisin Salad or McDonald’s Fruit & Walnut Salad or Wendy’s Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad. Top Secret Recipes Unlocked even has your desserts and breakfast boost covered with delights like: McDonald’s treasured Cinnamon Melts, Jack In The Box’s Pumpkin Pie Shake, or Starbuck’s Maple Oat Nut Scone, Peppermint Brownie, Caramel Macchiato, or their Gingerbread Latte. This cookbook has so many fan favorites I’m certain you’ll be entertained for some time and so will your guests.
If I were to name some favorites right off the bat I’d have to choose Wendy’s Wild Mountain Bacon Cheeseburger and The Soup Nazi’s Crab Bisque as definite favorites. I made the Wild Mountain Bacon Burger the other night and it was the most savory burger I have ever eaten. It made me want to make burgers every night that week, and I made them again two days later. I served the burger to some friends and my girlfriend–who does not eat red meat—and even she said it was an incredible burger. For the first time in my life I made a gourmet burger, and it was amazing! First, some ingredients you’ll need for the sauce include mayonnaise, paprika, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, ground cumin, and a pinch of sugar and salt. Then you’ll the basic ingredients for your hamburger meat.
My second favorite, The Soup Nazi’s Crab Bisque, is the next on my list of recipes to try. Can you really call yourself part of the American culture if you’ve never seen the iconic Seinfeld episode depicting the Soup Nazi? Well, maybe you can, but if you’ve seen it, you know it’s considered by many as worth a little verbal abuse to obtain. If it’s really that good, and as good as the Wild Mountain Burger, I’m definitely going to try it. Much like the Wendy’s burger, the recipe really is not complex. It uses basic ingredients: onion, celery stalks, garlic, potatoes, fresh parsley, butter, tomato sauce, heavy cream, pimento, black pepper, and, of course, crab. Not so difficult, right? I am beyond excited to try this, and maybe from now on I can make my own crab bisque.