Profiles of 24 reigning restaurant luminaries, followed by some 200 recipes representing their approaches. The recipes (in versions that don't offer much help to a novice) runs a large gamut from the genuinely attractive--quasi-Chinese sparerib stew, mushroom polenta, corn soup with oysters and a ton of dill, cheese and spinach breadsticks, bread pudding with blueberry sauce--to farragoes of fashionable ingredients and outrâ€š juxtapositions. It should all be a field day for people who like things like ""Budweiser beer ice"" (sort of a frozen shandygaff), zucchini-grape-fruit salad in a sweet mustardy dressing (""3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar. . .""), or batter-fried shrimp in a sauce consisting mostly of strawberry preserves. The level of effort required for the more complex dishes reflects their origins in well-staffed restaurant kitchens. Barbara Tropp of China Moon in San Francisco is responsible for at least half of the few really good things here; other well-known names who contribute for better or worse are Paul Prudhomme, Wolfgang Puck, Jeremiah Tower, Barry Wine of The Quilted Giraffe, Anne Greer of Nana Grill (Dallas), and Mark Miller of the Fourth Street Grill (Berkeley). Brown's thumbnail bios are bland prattle, and her grasp of food basics and cooking terms is shaky enough (""sautâ€š"" for ""simmer,"" ""pepsin"" for ""papain,"" a description of polenta as ""basically the Italian version of a corn spoonbread"") to make you wonder how accurately some of these reflect the restaurant originals. Basically, for rich groupies.