French Chefs and Their Recipes
by Jean-Louis André
French Chefs and Their Recipes is a book to be reckoned
with. Food and travel writer Jean-Louis André introduces
us to 15 seriously accomplished chefsan enviable,
diverse group of culinary geniuses. Some you'll surely recognize:
names like the legendary Paul Bocuse from L'Auberge de Collonges
in suburban Lyon; Alain Passard from L'Arpège in
Paris; Arnaud Daguin of Les Platanes in Biarritz; and Olivier
Roellinger of Brittany's Les Maisons de Bricourt. The geographical
spread of these chefs and their restaurants takes us into
areas where the regional influence is distinct and memorable.
the talent is so big, it's difficult to be fair to each
chef in the book. Each chapter contains an interesting and
concise profile: a mini-biography, an overview of the chef's
region, and insight into his or her style. Suffice to say,
every dish is spectacular and sophisticated. Each recipe
clearly bears the distinct mark of its creator. Starters
can be simple, like Michel Portos' Oysters with Herb Butter,
or Pierrot's beer-infused Maroilles Cheese Pie. Marc Meneau's
Beef Ravioli with a Vegetable Broth may require more work
and assembly (you'll need to spend some time filling the
pasta with hand-shredded raw fillet, oysters, shallots and
olives) but it's worth the additional effort. The result
is delicious, beguiling and beautiful.
dishes are unforgettable too: Georges Billon's Spaghetti
with Rock Lobster will soon appear on our dinner table.
Gérard Passédat's Oriental Mullet and Oyster
Consommé with Shellfish and a Pistachio Topping will
follow. Star anise seasons the fish stock; puréed
mullet liver and pistachio oil dresses the fish. Seafood
reigns supreme, but there are a few choices from the land
including Braised Shoulder of Veal with Fresh Truffle, from
Mathieu Viannay, of his namesake bistro in Lyon; and Bocuse's
Bresse "Chicken in Mourning" with Sauce Suprême.
It's stuffed, among other things, with root vegetables,
foie gras and truffle slices.
ever skip dessert. You'd be missing Anne-Sophie Pic's Candied
Vanilla Mango, Sugar Crisps with Lemon Cream and Vanilla
Ice Cream or Mango Sorbet. It's a visual and culinary masterpiece.
Pic's vanilla-poached mango is sensational. Great French
Chefs is about desserts where chocolate, for once, is
scarce. Instead, take advantage of inventive approaches
to fruit. End your meal with Meneau's Peppery Spiced Strawberries
or Passard's Pineapple in Salt Crust finished with
a vanilla-scented reduction of fresh orange juice.
you've been to any of the restaurants, André's book
brings back memories. If you haven't, the reading is a good
study for a future visit. Great French Chefs also
stands on its own as cookbook. Dishes range from somewhat
straightforward to challenging, depending on ingredients
and your level of experience. Recipes are clearly written,
nicely detailed and include both preparation time and cooking
long as you know how to source the specialty ingredients
(you'll need a very committed fishmonger to track down sea
anemones and periwinkles) nothing in the book is beyond
the reach of a confident, flexible and committed home cook.
Funding a dish like Marc Haeberlin's Goose Liver Terrine
wit Truffles or Anne-Sophie Pic's Truffle in Pastry "André
Pic" is another matter, but, hey, the pictures are
amazing and dreaming is free.
VIANNAY'S BRAISED SHOULDER OF VEAL WITH FRESH TRUFFLE
by Kevin Schoeler