By Thomas Keller
His methods dazzle. His creations explode with taste. His recipes inspire. The cookbook event of the fall 1999 season is undoubtedly the publication of The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. Keller is the most respected American-born chef cooking in this country today, and people from all over the world make pilgrimages to the tiny town of Yountville, California, to partake in what has been heralded by The New York Times as the "most exciting dining experience in the United States."
In his long-awaited cookbook debut, Thomas Keller, chef proprietor of the world renowned French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, shares one hundred and fifty of his innovative, intensely flavor-focused recipes. His creative process, reverence for ingredients, and deep respect for his purveyors, not to mention his wit and whimsy, come to life in a series of recipes and essays that make The French Laundry Cookbook more than just a cookbook.
These superlative recipes are exact replications from the French Laundry kitchen--no short-cuts taken, no critical steps ignored, and all have been thoroughly tested in home kitchens. From Keller's signature "Comets" of salmon, inspired by a visit to Baskin-Robbins, to the deceptively simply named yet highly sophisticated "Peas and Carrots," a creation of Maine lobster pancakes with pea shoot salad and ginger-carrot emulsion, to the most sublime interpretation of "Coffee and Doughnuts," cappuccino semifreddo with cinnamon sugar doughnuts. Recipes run the gamut from complex to totally simple. Everyone, for example, will be tempted to try the Lemon Tart, Gazpacho, Cream of Walnut Soup, and Heirloom Tomato Tart.
If you can't get to the French Laundry, you can now re-create at home the very experience the Wine Spectator described as "as close to dining perfection as it gets." More than two hundred photographs capture the visual impact of Keller's extraordinary food, the unassuming charm of the French Laundry, and the perfectionism of the man himself. In essays throughout the book, Keller discusses techniques and reflects on the centrality of certain foods and experiences to his development as a chef, his love of foie gras and the importance of two years spent mastering hollandaise sauce. He also offers testaments to some of his most trusted purveyors, most of whom fell accidentally into their line of work, but without whom the French Laundry could not be what it is: the scallop lady, the Pittsburgh lamber, the attorney cheesemaker. The bond Keller shares with all these people is genuine passion. This is a book driven by passion, a very personal book that reveals the soul of a chef.
About the Author
Thomas Keller is chef and owner of the French Laundry in Yountville, California, and owner of Bouchon, a second, more casual French restaurant in the same town. The French Laundry is a member of both Relais & Chateaux and Traditions & Qualite. Keller grew up in restaurant kitchens in southern Florida, but honed his skills in New England and France. He was the chef of La Reserve, Restaurant Raphael, and Rakel in New York before moving to California.
Susie Heller exercises her enormous culinary range in almost every area of the food world from writing, to restaurant consulting. She has hosted her own television series as well as served as culinary producer for other national television cooking shows. She lives in Napa Valley, California.
Michael Ruhlman is an award-winning journalist with a passion for food. He is the author of The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, and a forthcoming book that profiles three chefs, one of whom is Thomas Keller. He lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Deborah Jones has collaborated on many book projects, receiving honors from both The James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Cooking Professionals. She is a frequent contributor to national magazines and enjoys a parallel commercial career from her San Francisco studio.
The French Laundry Cookbook
By Thomas Keller
With Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman
Photographs by Deborah Jones
Artisan, November, 1999
150 recipes, more than 200 color photographs
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created January 2000
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