Customer Reviews


45 Reviews
5 star:
 (38)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite addition to any cookbook collection
I have loved David Kinch's cooking since I discovered his first small restaurant, Sent Sovi, and have enjoyed countless brilliant dinners at Manresa as it grew in size and elegance over the years into the Michelin 2-star restaurant it is today. I knew any cookbook David authored would be wonderfully written and filled with helpful information, but I was bowled over by...
Published 10 months ago by Casey Ellis

versus
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Other Worldly
A beautiful book with inspiring photos and a list of ingredients that are not simply seasonal but almost entirely unavailable to the vast majority of home cooks. I could be wrong on this second observation, of course, and it's quite possible that I am one of those unfortunate few who would have great difficulty getting his hands on ice plant leaves, purslane, ground...
Published 9 months ago by John Salce


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite addition to any cookbook collection, October 23, 2013
By 
Casey Ellis (Los Altos, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
I have loved David Kinch's cooking since I discovered his first small restaurant, Sent Sovi, and have enjoyed countless brilliant dinners at Manresa as it grew in size and elegance over the years into the Michelin 2-star restaurant it is today. I knew any cookbook David authored would be wonderfully written and filled with helpful information, but I was bowled over by the beauty of this book--from the embossed cover to the exquisite photographs. And although many of the recipes are special occasion fare, there are plenty that are extremely simple to execute. This morning, for example, I made the best omelet I've eaten outside France--and I've been making omelets for 50 years.
The book also explains the relationship between the restaurant and Love Apple Farm, where Cynthia Sandberg grows the produce for Manresa on mountainside terraces in Santa Cruz -- a great story of rare seeds collected from around the world and produce that is picked when it's perfect--not when commercial shipping schedules dictate.
This book will be my holiday gift for for friends who love cooking, gardening and eating at a sublime level.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my dining experience, no other American chef distills (and refines) his locale onto the plate better than David Kinch., November 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
First things first; this is a remarkable book written by a unique chef. It's easily worth the price tag. And it's a refreshing, inspiring change from most of the volumes hitting the culinary shelves these days.

For instance, it's *not* a "hot new chef book" by somebody who has run a kitchen for a year or two and who is now trying to parley his 15 minutes of fame into a half hour. Instead, chef/author David Kinch has been at the stove for more than three decades in Louisiana, New York, California and Europe, and he knows exactly what he's talking about.

It's *not* a "TV chef book" by somebody more attuned to staring into the camera while flashing a mouthful of shiny white teeth than focusing on the precise but natural-looking plates going out of his kitchen. To my knowledge, Chef Kinch's only foray into the wild, wild world of the Food Network was back in 2009, when he thoroughly kicked Bobby Flay's butt in Battle Cabbage on Iron Chef America. Rather than jump on the fabled media bandwagon after that experience, Chef Kinch went back to what he intimately knows and loves - his restaurant, and all that it involves.

And it's *not* a "coffee table cookbook," meant simply to look great in your living room this holiday season. Yes, on first gaze, it looks that way. Oversized ... check. Texturally-correct abalone shell on the cover ... check. Absolutely killer photographs (from Eric Wolfinger) sprinkled here, there & everywhere ... check. But it's *way* more than that.

This is the rare culinary treatise that embodies so much more than recipes. It encompasses Chef Kinch's philosophies (insofar as things like these can be captured by the written word) about food, nature, cooking, hospitality, technology, professionalism, respect (in all its relevant guises), mentoring the next generation of chefs, etc. It's an ode to his 11 year old restaurant, Manresa, and his life in the industry.

I've dined at Manresa several times (and enjoyed Chef Kinch's hospitality at Sent Sovi - his previous restaurant - well over a decade ago). But don't think that I'm just raving about the book because I've been to the restaurant. If anything, my firsthand experiences only increased my expectations for the book. Clearly, I needn't have worried.

You should understand upfront that Chef Kinch's recipes weren't designed for home cooks or home kitchens. This is Michelin-starred stuff folks, presented the way do it at Manresa. Indeed, to me, the recipes are included primarily because they are necessary to tell the story of the chef and the restaurant. That some folks will want to duplicate the food at home, I think, is necessarily secondary. For most of us mere kitchen mortals, some of the recipes are inspirational; we may never be able to exactly reproduce them, but we can still take from them pearls of wisdom for use in our own cooking.

Now, does that mean it's impossible to make all of these recipes at home even if you are a reasonably skilled home cook with a well-outfitted home kitchen? No, of course not; some are really pretty simple. But you need to recognize that many recipes require time and attention to detail. Many include obscure or not easily sourced ingredients, too, but for me, that's part of the book's charm. It speaks directly to Chef Kinch's desire to make Manresa distinctive while still focusing on the local, the seasonal, the best of what's available to him. If you really want to cook from this book, read the recipes carefully before you step into the kitchen ... heck, before you even think about heading to the market. Then you'll know which ones your kitchen, local markets and cooking skill level can accommodate and which ones you can dream about eating at Manresa.

The bulk of Chef Kinch's recipes shun flashy, high tech gizmos (like Pacojets and immersion circulators) and ingredients (like hydrocolloids). He's not blind to the potential advantages technology offers culinary professionals, but at heart he's a cook's cook. As he notes in a brilliant little essay entitled, "Creativity and Technology," beginning at page 251, "what I've learned is that I want to use the best possible techniques that are right for me, whether they are ultramodern or ultratraditional." In other words, if a lamb rack cooked in a water bath no longer has the texture of lamb, why bother? Why, indeed.

This book also plumbs the details of Chef Kinch's relationships with his purveyors, most especially Cynthia Sandberg's Love Apple Farms, with which Manresa has an exclusive association. These local connections with passionate folks allow Manresa to showcase the terroir of the Santa Cruz Mountains foothills in an utterly unique way. And, boy, does he take advantage of it.

In my dining experience, no other American chef distills (and refines) his locale onto the plate better than David Kinch. You usually hear the word "terroir," roughly translated as "a sense of place," in the world of fine wines, but it's certainly an apt description of what Chef Kinch relates in this book and in the Manresa dining room. And he's more than happy to share the limelight; as he so correctly notes at the end of a short piece beginning on page 9 called, "How I Met Cynthia Sandberg," "thanks to Love Apple Farms, our food tastes of nowhere else in the world."

If you have any interest at all in learning what goes on in one very creative and successful culinary mind when it comes to developing dishes and menus, please read, "Building a Dish: 1, 2, 3" (p. 163) and "Building a Menu," (p. 191). Really ... I mean it. Even if you have to borrow somebody else's copy or (gasp!) sneak off to your nearest brick and mortar bookstore.

In my opinion, the cookbook segment of the market has been over-saturated for years, and so it's rare and gratifying to find a book like this one that both informs and resonates without sounding preachy or holier-than-thou.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful culinary work, November 3, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
This is a cookbook in name, only. It has detailed recipes, but it's more a meditation on food and cooking by a fabulously inventive chef whom embraced the "localvore" philosophy long before it became a trend. One of Kinch's approaches is a 3-ingredient combination, where the last one is the surprise. I appreciated learning how he thinks about preparing a dish, including what to leave out.

The photos are truly fantastic: I've never seen a culinary book that had better. If you one day get the chance to eat at Manresa or to visit Love Apple Farms for the first time, you're in for a profound experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Other Worldly, December 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
A beautiful book with inspiring photos and a list of ingredients that are not simply seasonal but almost entirely unavailable to the vast majority of home cooks. I could be wrong on this second observation, of course, and it's quite possible that I am one of those unfortunate few who would have great difficulty getting his hands on ice plant leaves, purslane, ground cherries, red verjuice, etrog citron, buddha hand citron, golden nori, etc., and whose wallet would certainly feel the pinch of obtaining perfectly fresh abalone, Russian osetra caviar, foie gras, fresh porcini and black truffles. The book is advertised as a "farm-to-table" cookbook, conjuring up baskets of local strawberries and, perhaps, nothing more "exotic" than purple basil, lovage, and other produce readily and easily grown in one's own garden; so, after purchasing this book and perusing the recipes, their cosmopolitan ingredients, their long and exacting procedures, I am left wondering, in what galaxy does this homey "farm" exist?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love this book but…, January 7, 2014
By 
Frank LaManna (Webster, New York, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
I pre-ordered this book based on many things I had heard about Manressa, the restaurant. It was my kind of book. It had an admired chef, a restaurant that was drawing people to its obscure location, and new recipes for me to get my hands into. I waited months, and finally received my copy.

Manressa: an Edible Reflection, falls somewhere between The French
Laundry Cookbook and Grant Achez’s Alinea cookbook. In the French Laundry Cookbook, Thomas Keller’s goal is clean tastes; In Alinea, Achetz goes for a total sensory experience. David Kinch, of Manressa, focuses on terrior, or “sense of place.”
Keller aims at three bites per portion, Achetz (often) at one. Kinch at two.

Right there, that should tell the reader what he or she is getting into. This is not a book about casual food, nor even “fine food.” This is a book for someone who is very serious, and who appreciates and wants to experience what a driven chef has to offer. Manresssa (the book and the restaurant) is about tweezers-arranged preparations and attention, attention, attention, to detail.

I found the book to be almost all of what I wanted it to be. Manressa: an Edible Reflection is an intense book. David Kinch found his epiphanic moment when he connected with Love Apple Farm, and built on that experience, taking the well worn California mantra, “buy the best available product and cook in season,” and elevating it to new levels to try to create a “sense of place” for his restaurant. Love Apple farm is not simply a purveyor, it is an interactive player where Kinch not only purchases the produce, but indicates what he wants planted. Vegetables seldom, if ever, see refrigeration. Fresh means exactly that. The same is true of his other purveyors. Their bounty powers his menu. His relationship with them is extraordinary. Although he doesn’t forage like René Redzepi, (well, not all the time) he does devote considerable energy to making vegetables sing, and puts the proteins in a different relation to the presentation than what is commonly done.

The book is full of beautiful pictures and David Kinch’s text is interesting to read, at once philosophical and technical, and there is enough of his writing that the book is worth it for that alone. He is pragmatic enough to make use of any techniques and equipment that will bring him closer to producing what he feels will give the reader a sense place, of what is Manressa. He explains everything, from the butter which they make in house from locally sourced dairy products to things like infusing with peach leaves to add another dimension to an offering.

So why a four and not a five?

My problem with this book comes in relation to the recipes. I expected them to contain hard to find ingredients; locating places to purchase them is part of the fun of cooking at this level, and there is a list of purveyors provided. My problem is that none of the recipes have been tested or adapted to the home kitchen; all are exactly as they do them in the restaurant. Of course, it is Chef Kinch’s prerogative to do so, but in doing so, Chef Kinch has created a small but noticeable distance between himself and the reader like myself who wishes to use the recipes, that seems to belie his desire to “share” Manressa. Even if I obtain everything needed, will I be able to cook them in my kitchen?

If the reader turns to the “How to use this book,” section, he or she is exhorted to try more ambitious recipes, but “ambition” sometimes translates into “equipment.” The difficulties of a number of the well-spelled out recipes often have less to do with ambitiously following steps or even obtaining materials, and more to do with having a combi-oven (one that introduces steam…you can buy a .6 cubic foot countertop one for only $300 that will just about hold a small chicken).

This means, for example, that his interesting method of roasting, as time consuming as it is, probably would not work with my oven.

I have cooked recipes from enough high end restaurants to know that chefs at this end of the spectrum have access to high end equipment. Many of them, however, when writing a book for mass distribution, take that situation into account and offer alternatives or home testing. (Thomas Keller in Bouchon Bakery offers, for example, a tested chain-rock-super soaker squirt gun method to put steam into a home oven for baking bread.) Those things are missing in Manressa. While some alternatives are offered, essentially, the reader is told that if you don’t have the high tech equipment (and sometimes the “low tech” equipment that he uses for making butter), then, for many of the recipes, well…you are on your own.

Readers who have purchased, or are considering purchasing the book for other reasons, or who own super high-tech equipment, may, understandably, see things differently. For me, although I can understand all of the reasons why the recipes were not adapted for, or tested in, the home kitchen and could even find myself defending those reasons, still, the distance was a little disappointing. Testing in a home kitchen would have, for me, put this book over the top.

There are also some other admittedly nit-picking items. A small item was the de rigor use well worn mantra of getting the best materials, and treating them respectfully. Use them in season and buy locally, unless you are speaking about truffles, foi gras, and caviar (maybe lobster, too?). I have heard it over many years, and have come to question it. Shouldn’t one of the responsibilities of a chef be to locate and bring forth the potential in the bounty he or she is offered? Should there be no fried green tomatoes because they are not perfectly ripe, or tomato water from over ripe tomatoes?

Another item just proved annoying. The book ended with an abstract and somewhat gratuitous stream of consciousness epilogue which appeared to try to capture the essence of David Kinch. In it there was a line about David Kinch seldom using “I.” I found “I” many, many times in the book, and it should be so. This is, after all, his book, and his dream, so why present him as something that he isn’t?

I like the book, and I am fascinated by the author. I thumb through it often. I think that most people interested in restaurants at this level will find it an excellent read. Being stubborn, I may try, with the equipment I have, to approximate some of the more difficult ones anyway, and see what happens. Maybe converting things on my own is David Kinch’s challenge to readers like me

Amazon does not allow for fractions, or I would have scored it at 4.5. I like the book, but like the person one almost married, I find myself not loving it as I thought I would.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary view of an extraordinary person., November 9, 2013
By 
Joel (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of walking into the garden of Manresa at 7PM with seven friends and beginning a meal that ended around 2 AM. It was my first at chez Kinch, and memorable in so many ways.

Tonight I opened my copy of Manresa, an edible reflection, and had a similar feeling: that I was about to become enveloped in an extraordinary experience. I stopped after the amuse to cook and serve dinner, and resumed for a bit after.

This is no "cookbook." It is an inside out look at an extraordinary person, an artist who realizes his visions. I know I will want to consume the entire meal, but all in good time.

The photographs are stunning, the writing, engaging, but most of all, the man is captivating.

Bravo!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite cookbook of the year., February 7, 2014
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
I am tired of chefs in this country who wrote cookbooks targeting home cooks. Please don't get me wrong or be offended by. It's pretty boring when you pick up the book and those recipes and techniques you already know are all in the new released book. Same basic stock, dough, etc. I understand the business side of it. But.... When I look at cookbooks written by great chefs sold in France or other countries, I always wonder why, why, and why not. Finally, one great chef has stepped up and do it.

This is the best cookbook released in North America 2013. I always wish that chefs in USA will write a book like this. A book which define that chef's personality, cooking philosophy, food that served in his/her restaurant, and representing that chef's true talent. This book has it all.

Somehow through friend, I received a copy of this book 6 months before it came out. I admitted that I could not put it down. It was the first cookbook which kept me up all night after long day in professional kitchen. I kept reading it until almost evening time the next day. Good thing it was my day off. I have been following Chef David Kinch since he was at Sent Sovi. He deserved the recognition (long over due).

If you are going to make fried chicken and cornbread for dinner and look for a cookbook to help you with that, this is not for you. Save your money, time, and angry review here. Spare him. It's such a wonderful book. Trust me. One of the book I will cherish for a very long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An artist with taste, November 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
The symbiosis between restaurant and farm is amazing. David Kinch has captured the essence of magic, keeping time with the seasons and seasonings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential cookbook for all chefs and wanna-be chefs, October 29, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
David Kinch is at the top of his game, and this book reflects his passion and expertise in fine cooking. Amazing photography as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, December 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Hardcover)
Great gift for the person who gas everything and likes to cook in very different ways than the mainstream- yay!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Manresa: An Edible Reflection
Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch (Hardcover - October 22, 2013)
$50.00 $33.49
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.