34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Stunning book. Stunning achievement.,
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This review is from: VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers (Hardcover)
The Voltaggio brothers are the next generation of fine dining standard bearers. This book has a fascinating intellectual pedigree- modernist cuisine, the farm to table movement, the 'new American' cooking, all paired with a global palate of flavors rooted in classic french technique. Nori and truffle Brioche made with goats milk, for example, or dishes relying on foraged morels and asparagus. It is a wonder and a joy.
Its useful to put this book in a bit of historical context. The last twenty years or so have seen a revolution in the American culinary world. Arguably, the revolution began with Wolfgang Puck. Not only did he create many dishes that have since become cliches (many of them combining European and Asian flavors), he became synonymous with the products he sold. Fine dining meant more than French Haute Cuisine, and the chef became an inspirational force in American cooking. Volt ink is a product of a generation of chefs who grew up under the intellectual influence of chefs like Thomas Keller, Charlie Palmer, Tom Colicchio and Wylie Dufrense. The techniques are both modernist and traditional. The ingredients are selected with an intense focus on seasonality and quality, with all excess stripped away. The dishes combine global influences in terms of flavor pairings, ingredients and aesthetics. Its far, far too early to say if this book will have the sort of impact the French Laundry Cookbook did (and does), but at the very least it is a worthy companion to that lofty work.
A few caveats. Unless you own an immersion circulator, a vacuum sealer, vacuum bags, nitrous foamers, dehydrators and a few other non-standard pieces of cookware (and I personally do not, though I understand they are becoming more common)this book is roughly as practical for the home chef as a chocolate stockpot. I have only seen a spare handful of things I thought were possible to cook at home. The joy of this book is the way it organizes its self around groups of ingredients that go well together. This arrangement provides a great deal of inspiration, even for people with no intention of ever attempting the dishes shown. Another cookbook that does this, and one I would cheerfully recommend for anyone interested in cooking, is Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio.)
A last word on the photography. The pictures in this book are stunning. The term food porn gets thrown around a lot. This book moves transforms the term from irritating to accurate. Volt ink is a staggeringly beautiful book.
I strongly recommend Volt ink, not as a book of recipes, but as a source of inspiration, excitement, and a wonderful insight into the future of American cuisine.