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4.4 out of 5 stars
Alexis Gauthier: Vegetronic
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2013
Vegetronic by Michelin-starred Alexis Gauthier seeks to change the traditional equilibrium between meat and veg. Gauthier is not a vegetarian, and this book is not aimed at veggies; it is a celebration of the fruits of the earth and how clever combinations can inverse the old school meat with a side of veg culture.

Gauthier had a classical training, working for the like of Alain Ducasse, but he has become somewhat of a revolutionary making brave and eye brow raising decisions (printing the calories on his Michelin-starred menu). Whilst the catalyst for Gauthier's veg revolution was the shocking (although somewhat inevitable given the tonnes of foie gras he has tested) discovery that he had a dangerously fatty liver, his writing betrays a passion for fruits and vegetables deeply rooted in his idyllic childhood in southern France filled with: apricots, cherries, Herbs and flowers from his Grandmother and fruit from Uncle Henry (and occasionally a grumpy farmer).

The book is split into Juices, Flowers & Herbs, Vegetables and Fruits. The recipes are easy to follow and each comes with the calorific content, prep time and a complexity rating: easy, medium or hard. Gauthier is passionate about using ingredients in season; his enthusiastic writing reminds you each season yields its own bounty to be celebrated. He also explains the nutritional benefits and how to select and coax your harvest to perfection. Each dish is accompanied by a gallery-worthy inventive photograph that pops off the page.

The recipes start with meat and fish Jus and Broth used to enhance the flavour, they are easy to make and can be frozen. Flowers and Herbs, inspired by his Grandmother and traditional combinations from the Middle East and Africa, is an impressive and striking collection of wines, salads, soups, jellies and my favourite: marshmallow and ricotta ravioli, twist on trad spinach.

Vegetables is the heart of the book, packed with innovative combinations that will convert you to a Flexitarian (a lover of veg, who hasn't quite given up meat). Celeriac Purée with Bonito Flakes and Lamb Jus is the perfect autumn starter, not a million miles from a savoury crème brulee. The Umami Bomb (Parmesan and Wild Mushroom Custard) is a showstopper, with a difficult rating it might take a couple of attempts but is definitely worth it.

Move over boring fruit salad! Gauthier's final chapter - Fruits - is a collection of puddings and refreshing savoury dishes, filled with delights such as: compôte of Figs and Almond, which is served on toast with a drizzle of honey and yogurt.

This book is revolutionary, but if you need any extra incentive to add it to your bookshelf visit Gauthier's website and watch the shocking video...
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on 15 November 2014
A preview copy of the book never got sent to me, and now a year later I hold in my hands a copy of a book I would been half tempted to tell people to avoid at the time.

The recipes are generally as good as you might expect but the book itself is marred by a truly awful choice of colouring/design. It's an 'unfriendly' book to read and inconsistent with its tone - one moment assuming you know when the chlorophyll has stabilised and in another assuming that the reader doesn't know what panko is.

At first glance you would think it was a recipe book from the 90's or very early 00's - or something a child played around with on a DTP/paint program. I dislike everything looking the same as much as the next person but, when it gets in the way of the message, and spoils the usability and enjoyment perhaps someone should have stepped in and said something at the publishing house

3 stars for the content
1 (or zero) for the design
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2013
I have eaten at Gauthier Soho and enjoyed it. I expected this book on vegetables to have the same flair and innovation but it did not. I think the layout and design of the book did not help. It was garish and unfriendly to read. I have tried several of the recipes and not been imporessed so far, but I will persevere in hope.
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on 26 December 2013
I bought this book because I have a few friends who are vegetarian and I am trying to eat less meat but don't want to give it up completely. This is an excellent book.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Here is a timely cookery book that I reckon should be first in line on your cookery book shelf: a passionate emporium for vegetables, written by a chef who not only celebrates the glory of the potager, but almost reverentially coaxes the blossoming of each fruit or vegetable in the pan, even when bought mistakenly picked unripe from the tree or pulled from the ground too early or too late. Alexis Gauthier's affection for everything that the ground bestows is infectious and you get the feeling he didn't want to leave anything beautiful or delicious out, so this book is a veritable tome - a Big and Generous (in the greater sense) present for oneself or deserving others.

There are three distinct qualities of this book that I believe surpass the myriad of choice out there on the cookery bookseller's shelves: first, the recipes are extremely clear and simple to follow; second, they are graded according to ease of making and third, the photographs are inventive, fun and extremely salivating.

It is clear from the first page that Alexis Gauthier is determined to get us to revel in vegetables being seen as the main component of any meal, with or without meat or fish accompaniment. And this for me is the key. You arrive home from the market with a head of broccoli, so green, so crisp, so bursting with life that you want to give it a name and invite it to lunch and Vegetronic tells you how to place it right at the centre of your table cooked with coarse grain mustard. Jolly delicious it is too. This seems to be a book for vegetarians, pescetarians and carnivores alike, all of us in fact, who want to experiment in putting a vegetable of their choice right at the heart of an evening.

So this is the book for vegetable lovers who adore new ideas and veg box customers too who despair when, after all the easily wooed over red peppers, crisp courgettes and sweet potatoes there's some brown dull-looking salsify lying at the bottom and you need a helping hand. And he's very chatty - Monsieur Gauthier, so you feel he's perched on the end of the work surface giving you little tips about how to prepare unripe pears or do extraordinary things with a beetroot or make carrots more than interesting.

My only gripe is to see foie gras included when if only all those chefs knew about the processed cereal slurry forced down the beaks of those miserable, incarcerated ducks, they would see it on a par with intensive salmon. One day.....one day..... it will be gone, or consigned to dull and desperate restaurants. Time for a sumptuous champignon-porto paté to take its place....In fact, why not a book dedicated to glorious vegetable patés????
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2013
As soon as I opened the book, the pictures just came out at me, totally different from the standard cookery book layout. The receipes are easy to follow and delicious. My kids love them - particulaly the Cauliflower gratin and the hot summer white coco bean soup. I also thought it was nice to get an incite into the chef's career path and how his love of cooking developed. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to try a more veggie style of cooking using unusual ingredients. Great book!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Love this book, I frequently cook for boys who turn their noses up at vegetables. The recipes are so easy to follow with the fab difficulty rating system. Most of the ingredients are available in supermarkets (I even found a persimmon in Tesco). Have tried about 5 recipes so far and they have been huge hits - the Umami bomb is amazing! So good to see a bright, well thought out recipe from an independent chef rather than another samey book off the celebrity chef conveyor belt.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
This superbly put together collection is exactly what I had been looking for to further my culinary journey. As a dancer, I was coached in the nutritional benefits of a mainly meat-free diet and this book keeps things fresh with eye-catching recipes, using a variety of ingredients to keep things exciting. Glossy colour photography and easy to follow guidance makes this an essential purchase for the modern food lover.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
This book has to be the most surreal cookbook I have ever seen. Filled with astonishing pictures, funny comments and dead easy recipes. The fake riso recipe for example was an excellent main course option for my vegetarian friends. I also loved the muscat based cocktail and the Jolly baby pud.
Highly recommended if, like me, you want impressive but easy making recipes.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2013
I was given this book as a gift and have been repeatedly surprised at how incredibly wonderful the recipes are. The photographs make me want to try everything - even vegetables I have never heard about. Alexis Gauthier is an inventive chef - and the "easy-medium-hard" rating system allows me to make veggies far more interesting than I did previously. The recipes are clearly written and the background writing is informative; where else do you learn how to use past their best time fruits and veg? A great addition to every cook's library.
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