on 23 January 2011
Two more cookbooks arrived this week (adding to 300+). One of which I had high expectations was Lumière - being from a top chef of an acclaimed restaurant (and with a foreword from Charlie Trotter. Unfortunately I was disappointed. While being quite acceptable as a cookbook, it does not live up to its provenance of author and restaurant. It does not come close to comparing to "The French Laundry" cookbook, Charlie Trotter's eponymous "Charlie Trotter's, or others such as "Rover's" or "Pier" or "Le Gavroche Cookbook". I could go on naming other's that I rate much higher, but it would be a long list. I have gone through the book page by page twice (and through the index - I usually start there to see the entire list of recipes)
1) There are really no interesting new dishes or preparations or uses of ingredients (and I'm not expecting el Bulli stuff (I have 3 of his books).
2) No exciting signature dishes or dishes you think would really wow your friends at a dinner party. I'm sure if you do them well your guests will be more than happy and astounded, as you would expect from a top restaurant the dishes are surely quite good, but only a couple if any are really special.
3) Few if any new techniques for the amateur chef.
4) Recipes are arranged according to Seasons. I admit this is a pet hate of mine, but so many food ingredients cannot be divided into four seasons nor their preparation. Here for example there are two scallop recipes in two different seasons. If a cook wants to make scallops, rather than finding them side by side, you have to check two different areas of the book. How much easier is it to have the recipes grouped according to main ingredient - much more logical!!!
I was thinking of giving this book two stars as I really think it is average - so 2 1/2 would have been appropriate. If it was ranked only against its peers (i.e. the cookbooks of top chefs/restaurants) I would actually give it only one star.
So there you have it, it will find a place my bookshelf, but will not be gone through very often for ideas.