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Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques Paperback – May 1, 2001
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From the Inside Flap
From one of the world's best-known and most highly respected chefs comes a true publishing event: a fully up-to-date, one-volume edition of La Technique and La Methode, featuring step-by-step photographs of Pepin's hands on every page - along with his inimitably clear and concise instruction on each technique.
Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques features everything the home cook needs to perfect: poach an egg, whisk a perfect hollandaise, knead a crispy baguette, or bake an exquisite meringue with the perfection and efficiency of a professional chef. Featured throughout the book, Pepin's classic recipes offer budding masters the opportunity to put lessons into practice with extraordinary results.
Moving from the basics (holding and sharpening knives, peeling vegetables, separating and poaching eggs, making stocks and sauces, carving meats, even folding napkins) through each food category (fish and shellfish, vegetables, poultry and meat, breads, pastry, and dessert), Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques is the most comprehensive study of French cooking methods ever collected in one volume. It is sure to become an indispensable part of every home cook's library for many years to come.
When professionals work with ease and rapidity, it is a result of long years of practice and discipline. There are no secrets or tricks; only feats of skill (tours de main) acquired with prolonged effort. Through endless repetition, these techniques will become so much a part of you that you'll never forget them.
"People often tell me that what surprises them most is watching me cook and talk at the same time. This is because my hands are trained to the point where I do not have to think about the processes I use as I make a recipe-it's automatic. Instead of fighting the mechanics of cooking. I can concentrate on thinking about the combination of ingredients, about taste, and about texture. You may be very creative and imaginative in the kitchen, but you cannot take advantage of those qualities if you don't know the basics. A solid background must precede inventiveness." (Jacques Pepin, from the Introduction)
Jacques Pepin is one of America's best-known cookbook authors and cooking teachers, and has appeared regularly on PBS-TV for more than a decade, hosting or co-hosting with Julia Child or his daughter Claudine, more than 300 cooking shows. A former New York Times columnist, he is a contributing editor to Food & Wine magazine and has published nineteen cookbooks. He serves as Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute in New York City and teaches at Boston University. Born in Borg-en-Bresse, France, he was the personal chef to three French heads of state before moving to the United States in 1959. He now lives in Connecticut.
From the Back Cover
The publication of Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques is sure to be celebrated by expert cooks and beginners alike. Here, the man Julia Child has called "not only a renowned chef, a foremost authority on French cuisine, a great teacher and. truly a master technician" provides easy-to-follow instructions for hundreds of culinary procedures and preparations, including:
Braising Beef - Breading Veal Scallopine - Carving Poached Salmon - Stuffing Sausage - Making Chocolate Cigarettes - Cleaning and Boning Trout - Cooking and Presenting Lobsters - Filling Cream Puffs - Filleting Fish - Folding Napkins - Topping Fruit Tarts - Making Green Noodles - Grilling Poultry - Holding the Knife - Using Ladyfingers - Lining Cake Pans - Making Pepper Steak - Rolling Pie Dough - Poaching Eggs - Preparing Mussels - Peeling Onions - Using Fish Stock - Creating Apple Swans - Separating Eggs - Making Sole Meuniere - Stuffing Mushrooms - Trimming and Cooking Meat - Braising Chicken Livers - Frying Parsley - Poaching Salmon - Carving Rib Roast - Baking Country Bread and Baguettes - Making Fruit Cake - Flaming Bananas - Glazing Cake with Fondant - Seeding a Cucumber - Cleaning Salad - Fluting Mushrooms - Coating a Cookie Sheet - Folding in Butter - Icing a Vodka Bottle - Shucking Oysters - Peeling and Preparing Green Peppers - Braising Lettuce - Trussing Poultry . and much more.
"This is the book that every aspiring cook should read before picking up a French knife. Concise, informative, indispensable." (Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour)
"A through-going study of the skills of the kitchen as interpreted by an extraordinarily talented and skilled French chef. An invaluable book for anyone seriously interested in cooking with class." (Helen McCully, former food editor, House Beautiful)
Top customer reviews
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When I was about 20, I had a good friend who was a Swiss chef, and I always consulted him when approaching a new adventure. He could do absolutely anything. He was never around when I actually got into the project, but his advice was pure gold. My friend has since passed on to whatever reward comes after this life, and I now have Jacques at my fingertips for those essential consultations on the big, broad strokes and for simple solutions (even on presentation) in the areas where I'm inexperienced.
How does one otherwise get a grasp of these things outside of a first class cooking school? Not even the proliferation of foodie shows really explain these things. They seem to devote fully a third of their shows to tasting how wonderful their food is. Their taste has no real value to the viewer.
In contrast, Mr Pépin's unpretentious explanations and cautions and suggestions can open a world of understanding that will increase any cooks repertoire well beyond mere adherence to the recipe.
After a short section on equipment, there are seven longer sections (with a varying number of techniques): The Basics (70), Shellfish and Fish (33), Vegetables (39), Poultry and Meat (54), Carving (9), Breads (8), Pastry and Dessert (96). An example of specific techniques covered -- in Poultry and Meat you would find, among others: Trussing Chicken and Other Poultry, Tying a Roast, Kidneys, Cold Parsleyed Ham, Trimming and Cooking Meat, and Cuts of Fillet. Each technique is several pages long, and is presented as a series of photographs, each accompanied by a sentence or two describing the step being taken. Directions are clear, pictures (of Jacques's own hands, he assures us) are well selected and illustrative.
There are also many fine recipes, including many you may have seen on various television shows in which the author has appeared, such as the beautiful Christmas Yule Log. You will find basic recipes, like pie shells, as well as more advanced.
The volume ends with conversion charts and an index.
This is an indispensable resource for the serious cook.
In comparison, Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques, has only extremely basic recipes, and the techniques included is less comprehensive. Still, I am glad to have it so that I can actually see how to debone a bird.
Another book Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America, is less about techniques, though there are some instructions for very basic techniques. It espouses to do everything, from technique to recipes, and it is a good cookbook for the beginning cook that wants to create sophisticated recipes without outrageous demands one's skill, time or grocer.