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84 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much for entertainment as for information, 8 Oct 2004
By 
If you have not read Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential", the Les Halles Cookbook will be a rude shock to you. You have to appreciate that AB is a working chef, not a TV cook like many of those we see on TV in the UK.
In his own words, the Les Halles Cookbook doesn't have any new recipes. They are all French bistro classics that he has translated for the domestic audience.
So exactly what is new, and what is the point? ENtertainment for one. Written in the same brash, rude, honest style as Kitchen Confidential, AB pulls no punches in letting you know what he thinks of the mainstay of domestic cooking. He tells you why restaurant food tastes like restaurant food, and why home-cooked meals often don't. He is quite explicit in his love for food and being adventurous with it.
The price of the book is well worth it for his tips on the finer points - like stock making, buying produce and which cuts of meat work with which dish. Also, every recipe is annotated with his notes and observations on the dish.
The strength of this book is that because there are no new recipes (no ego-inflated "inventions"), and they are all bistro dishes - this means that they are all recipes that will realistically be eaten and tried (with the possible exception of steak tartare). There are no insane combinations of Venison and chocolate, or fried flowering asparagus. Just traditional fare that has had the professional touches explained and translated.
Some people will not like Bourdain's style or manner - but if you want a restaurant chef's opinion, you have to ask a working chef. If you want home cooking with margarine and stock cubes; look at Delia or Nigella. If you are ready for real demi-glace and shedloads of butter - Bourdain's your man.
I cannot stress this enough, you really have to read Kitchen Confidential to get a handle on this man. An excellent book, that has a specific place on your shelf.
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64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pulp kitchen, 14 Oct 2004
By 
Gluey (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This is a nice book. Tony Bourdain seems pretty cool, some may say too cool, as in purposely trying to be cool the way Jamie Oliver tries to be like your best mate. Well, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I have so far read Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour, both of which I found to be hugely enjoyable and informative. And thats the same mix to be found in this cookbook.
There is a nice intro during which Bourdain tries to put you into the kind of mindset he would like you to have about food, cooking and life in general. For me, this viewpoint is in no way disagreeable and mores to the contrary, I like it. As such, his recipes (which really are old classics reinterpreted by Bourdain - that doesnt mean "modernised", it just means he tells you how he cooks them, which is still traditional) are all presented in such a manner that you do want to cook them. I've had the book for 4 days and already cooked 2 recipes (porc au lait and the rillettes - well you would, wouldnt you?).
Its a good book. Not for total novices. But as Bourdain hammers out, for those that care. Or maybe for those that dont care and need something to make them join the bunch of nutcases that can wait 3 days to eat something as delicious as the rillettes (p 86 tout de suite). Let Bourdain be your friend, forget about Oliver et al.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking (Paperback)
Very good book. It has many good recipes and it is also a good read. It seems the recipes can all be made by non-professionals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dude rocks!, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking (Paperback)
I'm pretty keen on what I cook. I've learned masses from AB's Les Halles Cookbook' From demi-glace to roast chicken to coq au vin. I rock on stock, thanks to AB (and having pretty good suppliers)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real, useable cookbook - not a novelty item., 27 Oct 2012
This review is from: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking (Paperback)
My daughter gave me this book several years ago, and I go back to it all the time. I'd enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, and at first I thought this book would be a triumph of style over content - how wrong I was! Yes, it has the inimitable Bourdain voice, but that voice is great fun and doesn't get in the way of the recipes. And while the recipes are not the most adventurous, they're irreproachable classics, passed on from a working chef who has had to churn them out night after night, and that experience really does show. Even in a non-professional kitchen they work time after time.

The best thing about the book, for me as an enthusiastic but under-skilled amateur cook, is the emphasis on what Bourdain calls the 'meez' - the preparation of all the ingredients and the equipment beforehand. I've always understood the idea in theory, but this book puts the 'mise en place' right up front, so you can't go wrong. If, like me, you feel that multi-tasking is not your strong point, then this is the cookbook for you.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - real cooking and real food, 17 April 2005
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Just cooked the steak frites. Fantastic! Easy and relaxing to cook. Chips that tasted like they used to when I was a child, and the steak was to die for. Served it with a great burgundy in cheap glasses as suggested and have been given the Daddy crown by some very happy guests.
Cassoulet next weekend...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 1 Oct 2008
This is possibly the most perfect French Bistro book I have read (Even though it's written by an American!). Great dishes (all the classics done well), great pictures, loved everything about it. Bourdain is a great Chef, he tells it straight and cooks it right. If you love French food buy this book.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authenticity made accessible, 30 Jun 2005
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Bourdain tells you the real secrets of classic French Bistro cooking. Great recipes with the clearest explanations I've seen anywhere (move over Joy Of Cooking...), Bourdain's trademark prose, and the book is even pretty. What's not to like?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super book, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking (Paperback)
If like me, you enjoy cooking, consider yourself more than proficient in the kitchen yet would like to raise the bar a notch or two, then this is the book for you. Bourdain's writing style is funny, witty and direct. He covers some of the key strategies that set the professionals apart from us amateurs for example making your own stock and demi glace. The receipes contained within are well laid out and easy to understand. The photographs are attractive and well placed. Jamie Oliver and Hugh Feanrsley Wittingsdale books are really enjoyable and good books. By way of comparison, I would say that they are of second level standard and Bourdain's offering is third level!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real world advice from a well grounded and knowledgeable chef, 27 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking (Paperback)
I'm becoming more and more partial to Anthony Bourdain. I admire his no-nonsense, down to earth attitude. As an example of how Tony "tells it like it is", look no further than the entry for escargots in this volume. He simply states that you are best advised to buy tinned snails, rather than fresh snails. Furthermore, he mentions that they don't even have to be French ("Taiwanese ones have been fooling French chefs for years"). This is a practical, useful collection of recipes and advice that I heartily welcome and endorse.
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Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking
Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles" Cookbook: Classic Bistro Cooking by Anthony Bourdain (Paperback - 4 Sep 2006)
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