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Alain Ducasse: Flavors of France [Hardcover]

Linda Dannenburg , Alain Ducasse


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Book Description

22 Oct 1998
Brash, driven, and dazzlingly inventive, six-star-chef Alain Ducasse is a larger-than-life figure. At 33, he was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars, and in March 1998, he became the only chef in our time to possess six stars. He has mentored a generation of younger chefs who have introduced his cooking around the world and has, quite simply, changed the face of traditional French cooking.In his long-awaited American cookbook debut, Ducasse shares the principles and techniques of his uniquely elemental cuisine. At its core are clarity of taste, precision in execution, and respect for the food itself, which to Ducasse means retaining in a multitude of simple but striking techniques, such as combining in the same recipe raw and cooked, hot and cold, fruits and vegetables. Ducasse uses as much of each element as he can--the trimmings, sometimes the skins, the shells, the baking juices, the pan drippings, the heads, the cooking broth, all the by-products of the process--in order to capture an ingredient's precise taste. He incorporates different preparations of the same product into a given dish, each revealing an individual aspect of its flavor--sliced raw artichokes, braised whole artichokes, and paper-thin slices of fried artichoke, for example, might be featured together. The brilliance of his food--apparent in receipes made with no more than two ingredients enhanced by a simple aromatic element, with seasoning reduced to a few grains of salt.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan Division of Workman Publishing (22 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579651070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579651077
  • Product Dimensions: 31.4 x 23.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,634,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Alluringly simple dishes, like buttery fork-mashed potatoes, peppered slices of sauteed pumpkin, and a homey pear and honey cake made with big chunks of pear." --"The New York Times " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

At 33, Alain Ducasse was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars. In March 1998, he became the first chef in over sixty years to earn three stars in two restaurants simultaneously. In 2006, when Michelin gave his New York restaurant three stars, he became the only chef to have nine stars to his name. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Chef, Beautiful Cookbook, Beginners need not apply 11 Jan 2004
By S. J. Javaras - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I purchased this book on sale for $24.95, however I would have paid the list price of $60 because I feel it is worth it.
The photography is absolutely stunning. If you are familiar with Roger Verge's "Entertaining in the New French Style", the photographer is the same.
Recipes I have tried with success:
Dark Chocolate Tart with Rich Pastry Dough Crust
Pear Tart: Raw and Caramelized
Jasmine Pots de Creme
Criticisms
-Many of the recipes require ingredients unavailable in this country.
-Many times, the pictures do not quite match up with the recipes, which is very frustrating when looking for visual clues.
Overall, this book is for serious chefs or those who want to look like serious chefs by putting this book on their coffee table. Many of the recipes are simple: the filling for the chocolate tart only contains 4 ingredients, but this makes them all the more challenging: there is nothing easy about the recipes.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great chef, average cookbook. 6 Dec 2000
By Robert Sikora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There is no denying Alain Ducasse is the chef of the moment. However, this book was somewhat of a disappointment. The recipes are interesting, the photography decent. But the problem lies in the ingredients. Too many recipes call for ingredients that are flat out impossible to find - and he offers no alternatives. It is one thing to ask for truffles, caviar, or duck confit. It is another to require specific mediterranean fish that are not found in this country, or obscure wild game and offal that cannot be had. Substituting chicken, or even quail or pheasant just doesn't cut it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be disappointed whether it's in your kitchen or coffee table 3 Jan 2009
By Earl R. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've had this book for awhile, but wanted to wait to try out some recipes before I properly reviewed it. I've done 4 recipes thus far (french toast with seasonal fruit, shrimp toasts, sauteed pumpkin slices crusted with szechuan peppercorns, duck l'orange, and the orange sauce is phenomenal with pork tenderloin as well) as well as using his method for stockmaking. All of which were at worst extremely delicious, or at the top, the best versions I've ever had. His stock technique in particular is so simple, you'll get a noticeable increase in quality (clarity) with minimal increase in work. Were the recipes slightly more fussy than the typical methods? Yes. Are they worth the extra work? So far, yes. Are there shortcuts you can take to make some of the fussiest recipes more accessible? In my short experience with it, also a yes- for example, Bonewerks veal stock is a lifesaver for myself, who doesn't have access to veal bones. Here's some other positives and negatives:

Pluses:
Beautifully photographed, excellent page and binding quality, useful glossary (which includes substitutions for things like the seafood and mushrooms) and a section on basics like stocks, jus, etc. Techniques are very useful even without his exact ingredient list- just cook with what you have fresh and with good ingredients you have access to and you won't go wrong. Add a teaspoon of Grand Marnier to his french bread soaking mixture for a delicious twist, for example. Very good selection of recipes, and recipe quality and accuracy is great.

Negatives:
Some recipes can be costly to put together, and others will require substitution which may be a drawback to cookbook purists. If you don't like sweetbreads, foie gras, etc., a number of recipes also feature those, so be aware. You'll want to be friends with a good butcher/fish monger to get the most out of the book, but if you're reading a book like this, you already know that. Also, he features some "menu porn" which describes and pictures a tasty looking dish with no actual recipe measurements to recreate it, which was personally frustrating because the sour cherry clafloutis looked amazing. Considering the high level the rest of the book achieves, those recipes could've still added something had they been included.

Overall, I rated the book 5 stars because I've found it accomplishes what every cookbook of it's kind sets out to do; it makes itself as at home in the kitchen, wide open, waiting for the home chef to double check recipe steps, as it does on the coffee table to look good. I bought a used copy for $12, and I still would've been satisfied had I sprung for the new version. Regardless of which version you get, if you're a fan of Ducasse or good cooking, I genuinely think you'll enjoy it, too.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every page a masterpiece, for your eyes and palate! 5 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I purchased this as a house warming gift for friends, and kept it for myself! (Yes, I bought another copy for them.) Beautifully written and photographed, but best of all are the recipes. You could be sitting at the best table in France!
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffee Table Cookbook 12 Feb 2001
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Big, bold and beautiful describe this volume.
From one of the greatest French chefs, too much of this fare is unavailable to the home gourmet. However, savory and well done is this book with its exceptional photos and stylish intros to setup this exquisite cuisine.
Some of the soups and simple seafood dishes are about all anyone except the pros could attempt due to lack of ingredients and guts to go after some of these rather complicated recipes.
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