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Ritz Paris: Haute Cuisine Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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The adventurous who forge ahead and buy this book sight unseen will sample an assortment of recipes, published for the first time, that have made Michel Roth the "most decorated chef of his generation", earning him two Michelin stars for his cuisine at L'Espadon, the legendary restaurant of the Ritz Paris, along with numerous awards including the Bocuse d'Or, the Pierre Taittinger International Culinary Prize and the coveted title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
However, from the point of view of the average home cook, the recipes are often too elaborate and time consuming to prepare. Some ingredients are difficult to find, even if they're often found in restaurant menus - quail, rabbit, nettles and truffles, for example. Granted, this is "haute cuisine" - you really cannot expect anything less.
This is probably the reason the book is not searchable online like most cookbooks. For a preview, you'll find an online video of the contents posted on YouTube (under "Ritz Paris Haute Cuisine Recettes de Michel Roth"). Not ideal, but worth looking at before you buy as the book will arrive perfectly presented in plastic shrink-wrap. Meaning, you'll either love it or hate it, but once opened, you won't be able to return it if the content is too high end or complex.
Whoops, but wait a minute.... then what's the purpose of this book? And why would you buy it?
Why have recipes, which imply someone's going to follow them and cook something, if all the book is ever going to do is sit on your coffee table to try to impress your friends that, well, perhaps, that you know there is a hotel in Paris called the Ritz and their restaurant is famous, and that by you having this book, you have some Class by Association, or something.
If I want a coffee table book, I'd rather have something like nice pictures of Italy, or gardens, or paintings or something. It seems kind of stupid to have a book of recipes sitting there instead. What do you expect your guests to do, whip out the set of professional chef's knives they brought with them and immediately proceed to take over your kitchen and concoct something from this book? Are they going to study and analyze the list of ingredients? How absurd.
Another food book to make money for the authors, and for no other discernable purpose. You'll go through it once, and never refer to it again.
Yes, this hotel is where all haute cuisine started. Yes, this is a 2 michelin star restaurant. And yes, this is a chef's cookbook for professional chefs, not for home cooks. As a professional chef, I must say I should have invested this amount of money on 2 books. This is one of the most disappointing book I have in my cookbook collection.
These group of photographer and authors have done some wonderful jobs on several books launched before but there is one book they wrote as bad as this one. Look at the bookstore before you buy it. Read several recipes in detail, you will see the faults everywhere but it is useful book otherwise.
Printed on fine paper with a padded cover, the book itself exudes luxury and is a joy to hold. The material inside is no less impressive. Although the brief history of the hotel and biographies of three of the most important players in the drama, César Ritz, Auguste Escoffier and Michel Roth, the present Directeur des Cuisines, is a bit spotty and seems to suffer from careless translation, the rest of the book is a joy. The photographs of the opulent interiors and, especially, the stunning dishes are extraordinary. I, for one, could rarely manage to get through more than half a dozen pages at a sitting before I was motivated to head to the kitchen to cook something wonderful. Not surprisingly, the recipes themselves are far beyond the casual cook who will lack the requisite resources, chief among them being a large brigade of talented subordinates. No matter - no one but the dullest tyro could fail to be inspired by these marvellous dishes. And, of course, the best way to sample them is to dine at the Ritz.