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This man loves his cuisine and loves nature. The photos are simple and stylish but not contrived. There are also many well executed photos of the countryside in the back. The directions are as simple as if you are standing next to a cook who is explaining things to you as they cook. I can't help feeling his intense emotional love of working with food as I read and look through this book. Frankly, it makes the current popular chefs and cooking show hosts look like ... Sorry -- but I'm a chef, and books like this are hard to find.
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`Essential Cuisine', nominally written by Michelin starred French chef Michel Bras and his brother, Sebastian, is translated from the French and is published by a very small house, `ici la Press' that I guess specializes in distributing such French material transplanted to these shores.
Like an earlier book `A Chef in Provence' by Edouard Loubet, this book is the perfect example of a foodie's coffee table decoration which will very likely never see the inside of a kitchen or suffer an olive oil stained fingerprint on any of its especially glossy pages. The main difference between Loubert and Bras' efforts are that Bras and company wastes less page space on nice pictures of Provencal gardens, hill, forests, and wildflowers among the recipes. The gallery of pretty pictures is relegated to the back of the book. This is little solace for the $50 price tag for highly impractical recipes.
This does not mean this is a bad book. It only means that it would be a real shame for someone to buy this book under a mistaken idea about its contents. If cookbooks were mapped to magazines on building, carpentry, crafts, and hobbies, Julia Child's `Mastering the Art of French Cooking' would become `Fine Woodworking', Tony Bourdain's `Les Halles Cookbook' would become `Handyman', and Michel Bras' `Essential Cooking' would become `Architectural Digest'. The first two are consulted for serious ideas on projects that an amateur can do at home. The latter is browsed for the pictures and the romance of very expensive venues.
The title, `Essential Cooking' gives the impression of being about basics. The book is about as far removed from being about basics as you can imagine.Read more ›
This book as well as his DVD are incredible as others have noted. The concepts and artistry he incorporates into his dishes are mind-blowing. But if you can navigate it, buy the english-language version of this book on the Amazon.fr (French) website. The price, even with the exchange rate, is less than half the price shown here.
if you're a disciple of charlie trotter, it's time you made the pilgrimage to michel bras. they both seem to have been born with very similar genes - their food derives from nature, from the seasons and from the region, and from a passion for perfection that borders on the insane. although this book may not be as 'handsome' as charlies', it's still divine in it's execution. the photography is superb and a very accurate representation of the way the food is presented at the restaurant. the recipes are crystal clear, and the food is, weirdly, as easy to create as charlie trotters. if you love honest but stylish food, you'll love this honest and stylish book. i've been waiting patiently for m.bras to write a book since i first discovered him, and i was not disappointed.
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