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Relæ: A Book of Ideas Hardcover – November 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“On a tiny street in Copenhagen, Relæ is casually overturning every convention of fine dining. With its naked oak tables, bistro-style service, and humble index of ingredients (you’re more likely to eat cod skin than caviar), nothing about the setting speaks of exclusivity. And yet the restaurant is unmistakably among the finest in the world. Christian Puglisi is meticulous in his technique, rigorous in his thinking, and—even more impressive—humble in his delivery. The result is exactly what you see here: food that is artful, challenging, understated. This cookbook, like its namesake, is a delicious revolution.” 
–Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill and author of The Third Plate

“With this book, Christian Puglisi demonstrates why he’s one of the most influential contemporary chefs in the world. Since Relæ’s inception, we’ve seen his ideas and aesthetics emulated in kitchens from New York to the very north of Sweden. Now we have the definitive document of his accomplishments, a book that shares his modern, daring, and singular concepts. An instant classic—and, dare I say, a masterpiece.​” 
—René Redzepi, chef of Noma and author of René Redzepi: A Work in Progress

Copenhagen chef Christian Puglisi turns the cookbook form inside out with his first cookbook. Named after his restaurant, Relae is more a series of philosophical essays than a standard cookbook (although it does have recipes). If you've got a restaurant aficionado on your list, this is the glossy chef book they'll want this year.

About the Author

CHRISTIAN F. PUGLISI is the chef and owner of Relæ, which holds a Michelin star and was ranked one of the top 100 restaurants in the world by Restaurant magazine. Relæ and its sister restaurant, Manfreds, are both located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Puglisi has worked in the kitchens at elBulli, Noma, Røgeriet, and more, and is a contributor to the Danish newspaper Politiken. The Wall Street Journal selected him as one of the top ten chefs in the world under thirty.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607746492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607746492
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.5 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christian Francesco Puglisi was born on June 4th in 1982 in Messina, Sicily, Italy. Emigrated to Denmark with his parents in 1990 and approached the restaurant industry at a young age following his fathers footsteps. After finishing the Hospitality school Christian traveled to Paris and Spain working and staging in world class restaurants as Taillevent in Paris and El Bulli, both decorated with 3 michelin stars. Once returned to Denmark Christian was in charge of the kitchen of Noma, the sooner to be best restaurant in the world for a few years and then ventured out to open Relæ in 2010 and later that same year Manfreds - both extremely popular restaurants in the danish capital.
In Christian's debut book, Relæ: A Book of Ideas he explains the complexity behind the inventive and seemingly simple cuisine of his restaurant.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anonymouse on November 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is not a cookbook, although there are lots of recipes, some of which are very strange. It is a cooking theory book and a biography of a restaurant in Copenhagen, and, as with any biography, the reader must be in tune with the writer and the subject. Mr. Puglisi, Italian by birth, credits the editors at Ten Speed with making the text flow, but he is an effective narrator, drawing us into his developing relationship with his restaurant and its food. He works hard to state clearly his thinking on food and flavour and how he tries to shape the Relæ dining experience.

This thickly cross-referenced book really does not work as an ebook. Mr. Puglisi has formatted Relæ to read with your finger in one place and your eyes another. Each chapter and subchapter contains page number links to other text in the book - links to recipes that illustrate the concept being explained or backward links to the theory underlying each recipe, and some links that go both directions. The linearity of the ebook form, and the impossibility of matching a hard page number with an ebook location, force the reader to abandon the approach to Relæ that Mr. Puglisi intends, and this is a loss.

There is a great disconnect between what modern "concept" restaurants like Relæ do and how we cook at home, and many of the recent spate of books about restaurants are aimed at budding super-star chefs or wannabes. I think that in Relæ, much more than some similar books I have read recently, the clarity of the writing and the presentation of a real food theory spark ideas and debate in the mind of the reader, even as we know we will never undertake a multi-step preparation using three different specialty machines just to make a garnish.

I received an advance review copy of "Relæ: A Book of Ideas" by Christian F. Puglisi (Ten Speed Press) through
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Format: Hardcover
And it's filled not only with ideas, but tips and advice, recommendations, how-to's, lessons learned, and food for thought. But you won't find recipes per se until you reach the Appendix towards the end of the book. So, for the first 370 pages, you will find no ingredient lists, just somewhat general discussions of what the chef did to create the dish, and explanations of the flavors and techniques used. Often there are no quantities or times given. Yeah, like I said, a very different approach to a "cookbook".

If you are an "advanced" cook, you will find this book unique and very helpful, and as such, definitely worthy of your time. If you are fairly new to cooking, or if you need to follow recipes exactly, you might find yourself lost and floundering and not sure how to make use of all that the book has to offer. If you need your recipes detailed out, there are 65 of them in the Appendix, plus some "basics".

It is a beautiful book. It is well-written. It is a new concept in teaching the "how-to" of cooking and creating wonderful food. In a way, it is a lot like going into the kitchen of the "cooking matriarch" in your family, watching over her shoulder, listening carefully to her words, writing down some notes, then going home and trying to re-create what you learned. I love that about it's style!

When considering this book, do not forget that it is a restaurant cookbook. And, like all restaurant cookbooks, the chef has the very best of ingredients at hand, a very well-equipped kitchen, plenty of helpers to do the prep work, plenty of pots and pans and plenty of dishwashers....You get the idea..... (I got a beautiful, fresh bunch of young turnips at the market the other day. I looked in this book for ideas.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Brown on November 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't believe the amount of information in it for the price.

It starts with some general essays about his philosophy and restaurant history, then there are 175 pages of essays on everything from how he uses different textures, to meats, water (benefit of filtered water vs. tap for example), influences, land, ways he manipulates things, and it goes on and on. Every topic gets a page write up. Then he puts the recipes and page numbers at the bottom that deal with the topic (idea) he is referring to.

Then he gets to the dishes. He write a page or so on every dish, explaining its process, influence, and whatever else is applicable. I think an experienced cook could cook from the essays he writes on each dish (kinda like the l'Astrance cookbook). There are about 70 dishes.

After all of this, he then gives you detailed recipes for every dish he just wrote about. All 70 or so with weight measurements and very specific details. Every recipe also comes with a thumbnail of the dish so you can also remember what it looks like without needing to flip back and forth.

This book is probably set up better than almost any other book I have. So much information, laid out so clearly (the ideas section even has those half moons cut outs on the sides of the pages to help you flip to a section, like a big dictionary would have to help you find the letter you are looking for). This book is over 400 pages and every page is packed. Very little extra photographs of stuff for the sake of looking artsy.

Ability to cook from it?
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