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Girardet Hardcover – Sep 2002

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In the 1970s, in a village outside Lausanne, Switzerland, Frdy Girardet was creating sublime French cuisine to international acclaim. Now, 20 years after the publication of his landmark first cookbook, the eagerly anticipated second book has arrived. This is the first book of Chef Girardet's to be available in the English language. Over 100 recipes are presented, included signature dishes with such classic Girardet ingredients as foie gras, truffles, and citrus.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Perfection. No question about it. 30 Sept. 2002
By peederj - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is without question one of the best cookbooks ever. I can't get my mind around how it is absolutely "just right". The food is lavish and beautifully presented, yet, it has this simplicity about it that brings it back from pomposity. There is a touch, a feel, that is as good as I've ever witnessed. A certain maturity that exudes extreme confidence.
Stylistically, the closest thing to this in my collection is the new edition of Larousse Gastronomique. Yet that book is full of recipes that are sloppily either over-the-top or ho-hum. Imagine that kind of cuisine taken to its absolute apex.
The descriptions are utterly clear, and detailed, and in a very helpful format of preperation, finishing touches, and presentation. This takes you through the mise en place carefully and then shows you what you need to do when ready to fire the plate and put it together. A quantum leap, IMO, in recipe presentation.
The photos are breathtaking. If you are intimidated by the recipes, you can always make yourself happy just viewing this as a picture book. But if you force yourself through these recipes a few times, you will lose the intimidation and wonder why you weren't cooking this way all along? Go ahead dive in the deep end...even a sloppy, crude rendition of these recipes will be worth every ounce of unnecessary stress.
I think Girardet has created a new watermark in cookbooks and look forward to seeing attempts to top this.
PS Serious sleuthing has revealed what "Nion" is (for the Nion Tart). Nion is the compressed nutmeat left over from creating nut oil. Girardet calls for grating walnut or hazelnut nion for his tart. It will take significantly more sleuthing to get one's hands on some nion, however!!!
Of course, no gourmet cookbook would be complete without calling for a tablespoon or two of pure unobtainium.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Great exemplars of haute cuisine recipes. Highly recommended 9 Dec. 2004
By B. Marold - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`girardet, Recipes From a Master of French Cuisine' written by retired Swiss master Fredy Girardet is this renowned chef's second book, being published eight years after he retired from professional cooking and more than twenty years after his first publication, `Spontaneous Cooking'. In a totally uncharacteristic show of unity, Girardet is lauded as the foremost master of French cooking by both Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon.

In evaluating this book, I felt the weight of having given Charlie Trotter's latest book on fine dining recipes a poor rating, in spite of the obvious quality of the recipes in this `Workin' volume. Ultimately, Girardet's book validated my rating of Trotter's effort in showing how fine dining recipes should be written, thereby earning my high praise.

For starters, Trotter's recipes are touted as being improvisations, while Girardet's recipes have probably been prepared for years in exactly the same way at his restaurant. Among other things, that means they have been thoroughly tested by years of practice by dozens of line chefs. Girardet also has a distinct way of writing recipes, which is great for both restaurant practice and for entertaining. All of his procedures are divided into at least three sections, Preparation, Cooking, and Presentation. Preparation is everything that can be done hours or even days in advance, with intermediate results stored in the fridge. Unlike virtually every other cookbook I have seen, Girardet specifies exactly how to best store these intermediate preparations, citing which need to be covered and refrigerated if they are not used immediately. This simple addition literally doubles the value of the recipes for entertaining. Although Girardet does not tout this aspect of his recipe writing, he actually embodies the very good practice demonstrated in Wolfgang Puck's new book of laying out all the techniques needed for each recipe within that recipe. For example, everywhere it is needed, the recipe repeats the technique for skinning tomatoes by cutting a cross in the bottom and blanching.

Like most cookbooks for major restaurants, this one includes a large section on pantry preparations. This selection is as larger than Trotter's offering and, to my eyes, much better in that veggies are not chopped, but simply `cut large' and simmered for no more than three hours rather than Trotter's six. In only one stock recipe is the mirepoix diced, suggesting a ¼ inch dice. At the same time, Girardet is not overly fussy. I have seen more detailed recipes for exactly the same product from the CIA, Judy Rodgers, and Thomas Keller. Of all chapters I have seen on pantry preparations, I think Keller's work in `Bouchon' is the best, but Girardet comes close. He especially offers recipes for three different gelees; close relatives to stocks where veal shins and feet are added to extract their gelatin.

The organization of recipes is very conventional, which is quite reassuring. One is not disoriented as you encounter all the familiar subjects of Cold Appetizers; Hot Appetizers; Fish; Shellfish; Poultry, Rabbit, and Feathered Game; Meat and Furred Game; Variety Meats; Cold Desserts; and Hot Desserts. The first thing you may notice is that there are no meze, tapas, sandwiches, or other species of finger food evident in this list. This is FINE DINING! There are also no easily recognizable classic Bistro salads here. Most of the appetizers are soups or small dishes of fine shellfish.

One of the most difficult aspects of these recipes is that many use a principle ingredient that may be difficult to find in the average supermarket. There are many recipes involving rabbit, venison, boar, langoustines, scallops in the shell, cockles, crayfish, frogs legs, skate, and sweetmeats. And, there are no suggestions for substitutions. The scallops in the shell are not simply a conceit or a decoration. The leftovers after excising the scallop from the shell are used to create a broth, in much the same way as lobster shells are used to create a stock for bisques and other seafoody stuff.

And yet, there were still lots of recipes which not only impressed me with their quality, but which I actually looked forward to making in my own kitchen. A recipe for tuna fish tournedos with Ratatouille and green peppercorn vinaigrette may sound daunting, but the instructions are so straightforward and the result looks so delicious that I am certain I will try this little gem very soon. While all the photographs are expertly done, and there is a full-page photograph for practically every dish, I did detect a few where the photographed dish did not exactly match the description in the recipe. I rarely weigh this against a book, as I generally pay little attention to fancy plating or to using the pics to pick a dish to make, but you may feel differently, so I'm compelled to mention this.

The author claims he will avoid technical cooking terms as much as possible, but I sense he put this objective out at the beginning of the book and quickly forgot it. I forgive him on this, because I would be annoyed to see words such as Aiguillettes, Gelee, Veloute, Chartreuse, Chaud-Froid, Galantine, Terrine and Frivolity replaced with any circumlocutions. And that is just from the names of the recipes in the hot appetizers.

I have seen English translations of books by both Bocuse and Robuchon and this volume joins them as evidence that the leading Europeans really know how to do cookbooks. The binding is of a very high quality, the book lays flat where you open it, and an integrated ribbon bookmark is added for good measure.

This book may only appeal to professionals and foodies, but it is a very, very good embassy to this interest indeed. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
the real state of the art 10 Feb. 2012
By Rosario Toralti - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a professional chef for more than forty years,I've worked in all segments of the business for the most casual to the most formal,high end, low end and in every capacity,I've eaten a lot of food.I've taken an intense interest in studying was is the best of the best for many years. Giradet is the best of the best,plain and simple,the Originality,elegance and beauty of every aspect of his art,smell and sight taste and feel is still,at this point unsurpassed.It's never gotten any better,trust me.Alginate encapsulated vegetable purees and frozen foams are good for a laugh but are not exactly eating are they? But for gods sake, if you buy this book don't just read it or look at the pictures.PREPARE AND EAT THIS FOOD.You only live once and you got to eat,why not avail yourself of the best
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Master 3 Sept. 2009
By Babs53 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While more difficult than his first book, this is lovely and offers incredibly creative recipes.
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