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The Lutece Cookbook Hardcover – October 10, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Soltner was the chef at New York City's four-star Lutece for more than 30 years. Although he sold the restaurant this year, few people could imagine it without him, for Soltner, with his wife, really made Lutece, and, as he says, it was his life. Devotees will be especially glad to have this cookbook. It is really a recipe book and Soltner's autobiography in one, a record of how real French food and dining were introduced in the United States. Lutece is known for perfect renditions of classic dishes, and they are all here, with newer ones as well. Many of the recipes are neither everyday fare nor the type of food most people would cook today, but this is both a history of a much-loved institution and a cookbook, to read as much as to cook from. Highly recommended?bon appetit. [HomeStyle Bks. selection.]
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

What does a world-renowned chef do in retirement? Write a cookbook! After nearly a year out of the kitchen, AndreSoltner, once owner of New York City's Lutece, offers (with coauthor Britchky) home cooks and professional chefs a chance to emulate his artistry. His collection of more than 300 recipes and personal memories--including menus from his previous jobs and the "old" and "new" Lutece--is far removed from the 1960s trend-setting cookbooks from Julia Child and colleagues. In fact, his simple explanations and approaches will surprise an experienced culinarian. What, no long diatribes on ingredients? Mix American, French, Alsatian, and other cuisines? Beef Wellington in a brioche, not a puff pastry? Think of Soltner's book as a genuine contribution to the art of gastronomy by a man who, quite simply, loves to cook. Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679422730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679422730
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kaan on February 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If, like me, your idea of culinary hell is quinoa blini with kimchee "tartare", wasabi sorbet in a pesto tuile, and a two-inch stick of "roasted" tuna on an acre of herb sprigs, then this is the cookbook for you. Soltner's recipes appear remarkable today, since they are both delicious and totally unpretentious, almost simple. These recipes are classically French, from the Alsace region, and despite the fact that they were regulars in one of the world's greatest restaurants, many are also easy to prepare. There is neither fusion nor fussiness in this food, just respect for good ingredients and some tried and true techniques. You don't need to be a highly experienced or highly equipped amateur to try many of these; all you need is a bit of patience and a good appetite. Try the mushroom-Gruyere salad or the grilled trout. Of course there are some very sophisticated and difficult dishes as well. I never ate at Lutece and probably neither did you, but at least all our favorite entertainers did. So if you like true French food and would rather beat eggs than fend off paparazzi, you should buy this book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By mirope on April 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best and most useful cookbooks by a great chef that you are likely to find. Too often such books aren't suited for the home cook and are more about ego than food. That is definitely not the case here. Andre Soltner was the owner and chef of the renowed Lutece, a New York institution, for three decades. In this book he shares some of the history of the great restaurant as well as his Alastian heritage. The focus of the book, however, is the food. Significantly, Soltner recognizes that he is writing for the home cook. He thoughtfully provides tips on how to find ingredients or acceptable substitutes for those of us who don't have access to an exotic wholesaler and suggests the best kinds of kitchen accessories to use. It is obvious that Soltner cooks these recipes in his own home. You don't need a first class professional kitchen to enjoy these recipes. Also, the recipes are designed for suitable portion sizes; these aren't recipes to feed a crowd that have been shrunk to fit the cookbook. Just because this book is practical, however, doesn't mean that it doesn't focus on the most sophisticated kind of food. There is plenty of classical French cooking in this book, but it all seems like something you can accomplish in your own kitchen. There are plenty of things in here that you won't want to cook - there's an abundance of organ meats - but you will thoroughly enjoy anything that you do prepare. This is a great addition to any kitchen library.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mid-20s male on June 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After graduating from college I started to cook for myself, primarily so I could eat a healthier diet. Two-odd years and many barely edible messes later, I find myself starting to develop a cook's intuition: what brand names provide better ingredients, what substances are NOT adequate substitutes (the cliche being baking powder vs. soda), when proportions are balanced, how much time recipes take, and so on.

When I picked this book up after failing to find Bourdain's "Les Halles" cookbook in the library, I wasn't expecting anything special. Later on I took the time to flip through most of it and was intrigued. Finally I tried the Rhubarb Tart recipe and BAM! -- I was amazed. As other reviewers have mentioned, Soltner has an unerring sense of harmony, and most of his recipes call for (relatively) basic ingredients.

After reading the book in depth and trying a few more recipes, I felt in awe. This was clearly the best cookbook I had ever come across, beating out even Marcella Hazan's "Essential Italian". To name several of many reasons:

1) Soltner started cooking before my dad was born, and clearly maintains a respect for the terrines, quenelles, and mousses that characterize classic French cooking. But as he admits he adapted the best parts of food trends throughout the years, and even includes some childhood favorites and regional specialties from his boyhood in Alsace. (Incidentally, Alsace seems to have produced more than its share of world-class cooks...) So you are as likely to find a recipe for inventive pike sausages or Alsatian potato pie as something with sole or truffles.

2) The recipes are clearly chosen for the home cook.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on March 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The collaboration between Britchkey and Soltner is a long one and began when the former became a food critic at large. He continually gave Lutece the highest award year after year for the very reasons found in this book: No fancy dancy, inside out topsy turvey "presentation", no exotic mixing of Indian and Southern cooking, no "tricks". What he admired was the sheer artistry behind the dish, the always fresh ingredients, the simple yet complete recipes that harken back to the chef's days as a boy in France and in particular, the Alsace region.
Many of these offerings are peculiarly French with ingredients that may not be common to average American cooks. Yet almost all can be prepared at home with a little bit of time and effort. This is NOT food for the diet crowd although Soltner's use of creams and butters and oils is entirely reasonable and serves to accentuate rather than hide flavors. Particularly appealing are the many stories of his childhood and early cooking days that are shared throughout the book.
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