From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Even if readers have never set foot in Montreal's Au Pied Du Cochon, known for its rustic and decadent comfort foods, a few minutes with this extraordinary book will give them an intimate feel for the place, its colorful owner and its wild charm. Bursting with photos and irreverent, whimsical cartoons, owner Picard and designer Tom Tassel bring the bustling restaurant to life, showcasing decadent dishes like Cipaille, a baked pie stuffed with a hare, duck, beef marrow, quail, pork shanks and a medley of spices, one of the establishment's specialties. An unabashed love of foie gras results in decadent takes on pizza, burgers, hot dogs and sushi, as well as the rich Foie Gras Poutine for which Picard is known. Picard estimates that Cochon goes through two pigs a week, and he puts the entire animal to use, from Beans and Meatballs (which incorporates piglet heads) to Stuffed Pig Stomach to multiple takes on pig feet. While most home cooks won't have the wherewithal to recreate many of these dishes, knowing the steps are sure to deepen their appreciation for Picard's technique and detail. He generously gives credit to his influences, sharing the spotlight with fellow restaurateurs, meat and seafood purveyors, and his staff. The feeling is welcoming and occasionally conspiratorial, as wild illustrations juxtapose the diners' Dionysian pleasures with caricatures of animals' violent ends. In all, it provides a madcap sense of Picard's approach to dining and life, a warm and telling portrait of a unique restaurateur and his one-of-a-kind establishment.
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Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon has earned a remarkable reputation as one of North America’s great bastions of carnivorism. Drawing customers from far beyond Quebec’s frontiers, Chef Picard’s Rabelaisian menu features not just the pig’s foot of its name but most of the rest of the tasty beast. Not content with the richness of the pig alone, Picard uses foie gras in many recipes to enhance the meat’s already intense flavors and textures. Even the common hamburger ascends to royal status enrobed with slabs of foie gras. Picard’s mashed potatoes, enriched by beating in quantities of cheese curds, accompany many of his meat dishes. To diners’ awe and delight, fresh seafood from nearby North Atlantic fishing grounds appears on tiered platters. Game recipes feature photographs of the chef at hunt. Stunning graphic design and full-color photographs turn this oversized tome into archetypal food porn. --Mark Knoblauch
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