- Hardcover: 832 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307267199
- ISBN-13: 978-0307267191
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.9 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Complete Robuchon Hardcover – November 4, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Robuchon might be a three Michelin-starred chef-owner of an empire of restaurants, but in this back-to-basics compendium of classic French recipes, he shows that he still knows how to cook at home. He also knows how to teach: though the book has no illustration and his instructions tend to be terse, a cook with basic skills should make great progress just by cooking through the book's pages, from stock to meats and fish, every kind of vegetable and pastries. Robuchon features each ingredient (e.g., turbot or cauliflower) or food category (e.g., cold cream soups or fruit-based desserts) in several treatments to show its versatility, building on his introductory tips for sections and certain recipes. Most dishes are as French as can be, including worldwide standbys like sole meunière and beef bourguignon and regional treasures like John Dory with almonds and tomato confit or Hare Royale. But reflecting the passage of time and the influx of immigrants into France, Robuchon also includes some unusual recipes such as Tunisian-inspired langoustines in brik packets with basil. Cooking from this book certainly makes the full breadth of refined French cooking seem more within reach for the nonprofessional. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Superchef Robuchon has fashioned a massive record of his cuisine that will appeal to fellow chefs and to highly skilled amateurs. His worldwide empire of acclaimed restaurants has brought him fame and established him as one of the leading exponents of contemporary French gastronomy. As this cookbook testifies, Robuchon adheres to current taste with lightness and an emphasis on superior, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. He keeps sauces on his dishes simple, not eschewing flour to thicken sauces but using such thickeners with restraint. Few unusual ingredients appear, the most exotic being pineapple. He loves to work with game, especially birds such as partridge and pheasant. Chefs replicating recipes for meat cookery will need close cooperation from a skilled and accessible butcher. Robuchon’s many ways of preparing potatoes offer enough familiarity to home cooks to encourage them to step up to the challenge of the master’s recipes. --Mark Knoblauch
Top customer reviews
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Not so arrogant as to say there's nothing here to learn if one is a professional, because that would be ridiculous. If Joel Robuchon were to write how he ties his shoes, I know, it would be a worthwhile study. I was just hoping for an in-depth exploration of his palate and techniques, his entire approach to haute cuisine.
A small comparative example. Ripert refers to his time at Jamin as an incredibly tough, but worthwhile, time; and among the million details of the highest rigor, he goes on to say, is the total absence of squeeze bottles at Jamin. All the ubiquitous dots of intensely flavored oils, etc. you see everywhere these days, are applied by hand, from a spoon. I thought, well, yes, that's difficult, but is it really noteworthy? Until I saw an example of Robuchon's work in the Gault-Millau text, Dining in France - a Robuchon cold lobster salad, ringed with the most perfect little dots imaginable, arrayed in the most perfect symmetry, like a delicate, coral-tinted corona around the plate. There, I finally saw the immediate evidence of what Ripert refers to as the technical precision that was drilled home to him during his time at Jamin.
It's one small example - but I think the point I'm trying to make, is that the smallest, seemingly most insignificant thing, is demanding of an economy of thought and motion, and an intensity of approach (I am sure each of those dots are little, intense orbs of clean flavor) at the same time. Ripert credits Robuchon with teaching him the importance of precision, and the highest (that superlative is overused so much - but what else to say) rigor. (He credits Jean-Louis Palladin with freeing his mind, and Gilbert Le Coze with how to lead, how to run a brigade and ultimately, a restaurant).
At any rate, not in this book. It's a wonderful guide for the home cook wanting to master the classics of bistro and cuisine bourgeoise. I was just looking for something else.
Which begs the question, if anyone reads this review - any recommendations for a "bible" of Robuchon's cuisine? Not sure if the Grand Livre fits the bill, because I'm not sure any of the editions of the Grand Livre do....have Ducasse's on my cart, but at that price point, I'm hesitant to purchase a collection of truffle and foie gras recipes, without a lot of revelation on the chef's technical approach. (That may be grossly unfair to Ducasse's Grand Livre - just going on some of the less stellar comments). Not wanting a cookbook of recipes, but a totality of approach, if such a book exists among the works by or about Robuchon. Any help appreciated.
First, the book is not a "coffee table" beautiful presentation such as Patricia Wells created. There are no photographs or illustrations. Second, we will not learn any Robuchon "secrets" for making fabulous foods. In the early going the recipes do not show anything new to any cook who is familiar with the basic idiom of French cuisine. However, this book does shine: the dessert section is a spectacular feast of ideas, for example the almond flour pastry crust recipes, paired with a variety of fruit fillings. I like to make waffles and there are two fine recipes for different types and techniques of waffles that I will make again. His strawberry Bavarian mousse is a recipe I am very much looking forward to creating. Robuchon also offers great recipes for using different meats such as rabbit (which is widely available in meat markets here in Texas). Robuchon offers fine recipes featuring various parts of the bunny with peppers, with prunes, with a muscadet sauce and with mustard sauces.
Without the aid of Ms. Wells, Robuchon seldom offers personal insights into the dishes presented here but he does offer sound and traditional recipes for poultry, pork, beef and veal and lamb, with the emphasis on bringing out the best of the basic flavors of many of these ingredients. Vegetables and seafood are by no means omitted and one can learn the basics of making stocks and building them into sauces. At a rough estimate, seventy-five percent of the book is devoted to splendid and basic French home cooking and to the recipes that support it. The whole introductory chapter is aimed at a basic discussion of setting up a kitchen (pots, pans, implements) and some ideas about building menus and pairing foods with wines. These latter subjects are presented in a somewhat hit or miss fashion, as if his collaborator captured sound bites here and there without finding the way to unify their content.
Each recipe is carefully and clearly explained in a concise step-by-step method as well.
So I was surprised: this book contains some fine new recipes but most of the text is devoted to teaching a home cook how to prepare good basic dishes using reliable rather than path-breaking recipes.