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Food for Thought [Hardcover]

Alan Murchison , Mark Law , Raymond Blanc (Foreword)
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2007
Alan is passionate about using seasonal produce, classic marriages of flavours and innovative presentation. The ethical and nutritional element of the dishes he creates are taken into account at every stage. Over two years of blood, sweat and tears have gone in to creating a book that offers an insight in to the sometimes complex cuisine of a highly ambitious top-flight kitchen. Each of the stunning photographs to complement every recipe have been taken by the talented photographer Mark Law.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Alan Murchison Restaurants Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955788307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955788307
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 21.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Among the hundreds of cookery books that have known in my time, there is absolutely no doubt that Alan Murchison's 'Food For Thought' is the most beautiful I have ever seen. A veritable work of art, it is the epitome of artistic imagination and exquisite taste, truly a feast for your eyes, even surpassing the evident usefulness for the ambitious cook. Its penetrating and highly selective attention to detail is overwhelming in every way. It is amazing that it has been produced (and even published!) by Alan Murchison personally. --Egon Ronay

Alan first came to work for me as Sous Chef having previously worked under a number of my protégés. During his 4 years with me at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons I watched him develop tremendously both in and out of the kitchen to become a great master of his craft. I have been fortunate over the years to have some very talented chefs grace my kitchen and Alan is up there with the best of them. His true passion for food, creativity and attention to detail are second to none. Alan has a first class team that work very well together. The ability to motivate and get the very best out of your team is an essential part of running a restaurant and in that area he excels. In his producing his first book Alan has worked extremely hard and the results are stunning. I am very proud to give you a little Food for Thought. --Raymond Blanc

This is a fantastic book with superb images and really tempting recipes that give you an insight into Alan's culinary mind. --Michael Caines

About the Author

Alan Murchison is the Chef Patron and Managing Director of Alan Murchison Restaurants Ltd, who operate the Michelin Starred L ortolan near Reading and the award winning La Becasse restaurant in Ludlow. Prior to running the L'ortolan Alan was the Sous Chef to Raymond Blanc and Director Ecole de Cuisine at the Manoir aux Quat Saisons. For further information, please visit

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hold on a second... 10 July 2008
Now, don't get me wrong, this is a cracking book, but I think some of the reviews are going over the top. The organisation is good (I would prefer a cross reference from the 'basics' to the recipes), and the presentation is simple and clean. It isn't really a work of art though, and it is a book with a fairly narrow target audience.

It will be of little use to you if you are not already a very competent cook, and even then you are unlikely to be able to make the food that is so beautifully photographed here (who can leave their oven on for 48hours at 60deg?, professional chefs apart?).

If, like me, you want to be inspired to try new things, and to learn many of the intricate building blocks of flavour that are at the books core, then it's money well spent. If you want to cook every dish in a book sucessfully, look at beautiful photographs, and enjoy the writing, go for something else (Simon Hopkinson's 'Week In Week Out' for instance).

As a book it's very good, but not earth shattering. As an appetiser for Alan Murchison's cooking it's great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Without doubt this is my favourite cook book at the moment. It's been siting on my desk for a month, where others have been dumped by the side of the bookcase. Ironically Alan had a great deal of trouble getting this book published, and ended up publishing it himself. This makes the resulting book even more remarkable, because the dishes are fabulous and the pictures make you want to get yourself straight to his restaurants.

The Concept: The book is divided into the following sections:

The Start ~ The Journey ~ Starters ~ Mains ~ Cheeses ~ Desserts, and Basics.

There are a number of quotations alongside beautiful shots of the countryside. The photographer Mark Law, get's his own section - Julia Charles, the nutritionist gets a section - favoured suppliers get a section... This book is a celebration of Alan's journey, and the people who have helped him along the way.

Recipes are well laid out, and Alan offers tips on the preparation of the dish. He also notes where dishes can be pared down to produce an easier home version of a restaurant dish.

Favourites include pressed tomato terrine, tomato jelly, Picadon goat's cheese and Bloody Mary sorbet / the most beautiful Bouillabaisse I've ever seen / and wild strawberry marshmallow, iced vanilla parfait & scented strawberry puree.

The cheese section includes pairings for accompaniments, and offers wine suggestions. It's such a refreshing change for cheese to be included in the menu structure.

Astonishingly there are 233 basic recipes, which include everything from chutneys to accompany the cheese, vinaigrette's, a liquorice sauce, espuma recipes, stock, confit, jelly, ice-cream and everything in-between. It's an incredibly detailed selection, but more to the point, it's an act of incredible generosity on the part of Alan.

Who's going to read it? This book is really a book to inspire cooks - I can't recommend it enough.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for Thought Indeed. 29 Feb 2008
by Mark Geffryes

As cookery books go Alan Murchison 's first book "Food for Thought" is neither a cook's recipe book nor a `gastro-porn' coffee table book.

Most recipe books either fall into the Delia (and pretty much every other TV chef) camp - the aim is to provide a collection of easy to follow recipes with a picture of the finished dish so you know what to aim for. Or into the multi-starred Michelin, serious chef, camp - where there are recipes of immense complexity that professional kitchens produce day-in day-out, using sophisticated kitchen equipment and techniques, which only the most serious amateur cook would even attempt.

Alan Murchison may not be as well known as chefs who appear on television regularly, cooking or otherwise, and so his book will have a limited appeal. It is most likely to appeal to those who know him by reputation or have sampled his cooking.

At this point I should admit to a vested interest: I have been going to L'Ortolan for more than a decade, since the John Burton-Race days, and have enjoyed many excellent meals cooked by Alan Murchison and his team. I am constantly impressed by the quality, reliability, inventiveness and apparent simplicity of the food that the L'Ortolan kitchen produces.

Murchison's book is a labour of love. He admits it took more than two years to write and together with Mark Law's stunning photography he expects to be able to look back in a few years time and feel it is a book he is proud to have produced. This is a book you are unlikely to find in a best sellers' list or in the `75% off' remnants pile in your local bookshop; this is a self-published work of art.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigued Amateur 3 Mar 2008
Having eaten in some of the finest restaurants in London via work, I am yet to experience Alan Murchison's food first hand; however I am aware of his sublime reputation.
Unlike other celebrity chefs it is Alan Murchison's simple elegance and creative food combinations that attracted me to his book. The vibrancy of his recipes are captured perfectly by Mark Law's gorgeous photography; He simply brings Murchison's cooking to life.
The book is beautifully presented and Law's photography flawless; and although Murchison's recipes may deter some amateur cooks at first glance, the recipes are clearly presented and surprisingly easy to follow.
Law's photography enhances the elegance of the book and certainly captures beautifully the way Murchison's food should be presented.
Of the numerous cook books I have picked up over the years, it is 'food for thought' that I will turn to when I want to impress.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Thought
Recently greatly enjoyed the "fine dining" experience at a restaurant where Alan Murchison is in command. It was this that prompted my purchase of Food for Thought. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2011 by nutmeg
5.0 out of 5 stars food for thought
at last a book for chefs not masterchef wannabes and posh house wives. good craftskills tips and skills well worth the investment if your in the trade.
Published on 2 May 2010 by S. P. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars food for Thought
Not a book for the faint hearted as the recipes are very complex but you can complete the dishes given time and patience, this book is a work of art and shows the chefs love of... Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2010 by Colin B. Giles
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning..
Alan Murchison's amazing recipes are photographed so beautifully I can imagine the flavours and aromas just by looking at the stunning images.
Published on 14 July 2008 by Mrs. J. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any foodie
Pure unadulterated "Gastro-Porn"!

A book to inspire, subtle combinations of flavours and textures, the beautiful presentation and stunning photography make this one of... Read more
Published on 10 July 2008 by Steve S
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and beautiful
This is the most amazing cook book that I have ever read with the most amazing photography, showing what fantastic presentation looks like. Read more
Published on 3 July 2008 by J. pigden
5.0 out of 5 stars If books could get Michelin Stars!!!
There are not enough superlatives to do this fantastic book justice. When reading the book for the first time, you're amazed by not only the incredible recipes but also the... Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2008 by Mr. N. Caller
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book
just recieved this book.let me get the bad points out of the way first.the copy i recieved was not in the best condition(considering this has a price tag of fifty quid). Read more
Published on 31 May 2008 by thebull
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
great book but i would recommend buying it from donald russel butchers different cover but £35 including delivery great book if you liked essence
by david everitt matthias... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2008 by M. L. Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Food For Thought - A real treat
This is a book that you should have in your collection whether it simply graces your coffee table or gets used in anger in your kitchen. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2008 by Paul Woolley
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