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This is a cookery book of the old school: don't look for attractive pictures or celebrity chef endorsements, but this is probably where they learnt it all from, or a reference just like it, because this is a complete cookery course. As such, it contains classic recipes and their variations and lots of them. It also explains cooking terms and what effect the different cooking techniques have on the food, how to plan a dinner menu for guests and how to choose wine. I teach professional cookery to young, aspiring chefs and this is my choice for 1 of 2 reference books for the course and for their professional life. Whatever cooking you might like to do, this, or something like it, is invaluable as a culinary reference to keep on the book shelf. There are more famous books of this type, but this one is fairly compehensive and sold at a very good price, making it excellent value for money.
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on 4 February 2010
As well as a wealth of recipes, this book includes notes on individual ingredients including how to choose and store them. There are also notes on techniques and kitchen equipment plus historic information. The chapters are :

Stocks and Sauces
Soups, Broths and Potages
Crudités and Hors d'oeuvres
Salads and starters
Fish and Seafood
Offal and Stuffing
Butcher's Meats
Poultry and Rabbit
Pasta, Rice, Grains and Gratins
One-dish Meals and Regional Specialities
Jams and Preserves
There is also a glossary.

The book has been translated from French and some of the English renditions are rather quaint, but easily understood. I feel that the purpose of the book is to teach us how to cook with good quality, simple ingredients. I, for one, will look at the humble carrot in a new light in future.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 August 2014
Think of this book as cookery text book or reference book. It is not a pretty coffee table book, but you will learn far more from this than you would from any J Oliver or H Blumenthal book. It is literally crammed with hundreds of classic French recipes. Mr Robuchon walks you through methods, teaching you techniques you may or may not have heard of, but more importantly teaching you the right way to do things. Don't be put off by this description, as his instructions are very straight forward and easy to follow. This is the sort of recipe reference book everyone should have on their kitchen shelf.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 January 2012
I had the pleasure of eating at Joel Robuchon's restaurant in London and it was a great experience with fabulous food that was decadent and full of intricacies. This book is almost the opposite. Don't expect Michelin Star level cookery, don't expect wonderfully illustrated recipes either as there aren't any photo's here. Instead expect classic recipes like pot au feu that are simple to follow and work. The food and utensils are also explained and the style is very much for someone who aspires to cook good quality food and wants an introduction. Sure sometimes is really simple (omelettes for example) but if you are willing to embrace this then you can have a very good cookbook here that allows you to create and sample classic cooking without the hyperbole of so many cook books these days. Well worth investing in.
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on 4 February 2013
This is a substantial tome and quite a good book to have in a collection.
It is not glossy, it is not colourful but it is useful.
You can learn quite a lot from it and find inspiration, which to me is what cookery books are about.
If getting started on building up that shelf of cookery books there is no reason not to have this early on the list.

On the other hand it is just a French hotel cook's take on French hotel cookery, however lauded he might be.
While there is a fair amount of useful information hidden in the text this is balanced by much of what is only of relevance to a hotelier being supplied with a certain quality of produce. This volume shouts, large inner city establishment.
The reader is left to work out when the author is talking through his toque.

I was horrified the first time I saw a French chef salt a fillet steak while searing it but having tasted the meat I understood why he did it. Robuchon's dissertation on lamb is, in my opinion driven by the same necessity. This is in effect ethnic Parisian commercial cookery.

If you already have an extensive collection of cookery books or are into popular contemporary titles you might want to pass.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a cookbook without pictures which gives you everything and
nothing to look up to when it comes to attempting to execute Joel
Robuchon's delicious dishes. "Terroir" has always had special meaning
in Chef Robuchon's cuisine; the perfect marriage of ingredients and
technique, reflecting both time and place and a lifetime's devotion to
the refinement of his vision. There is little in this wonderful book,
however, which would be beyond the skills of a confident home cook.

Duck, goose and pork have a very special place is his heart and many of
his delicious and easy-to-follow recipes give a new twist to the notion
of "nose to tail" eating. Rich, robust, tasty and authentic, Robuchon's
food has its roots in French historical (and local) tradition whilst
allowing room for contemporary refinement. His "L'Atelier" restaurants
attest to the fact that Robuchon has moved on more than a little in recent
years but the bedrock of his culinary craft is beautifully preserved in
this weighty tome. As a companion volume 'Cuisine Actuelle', created in
collaboration with food writer Patricia Wells (Macmillan 1993), delivers
further insight into this great cook's contribution to gastronomic heaven.

Highly Recommended.
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on 13 November 2008
This is so much more than a how-to cookbook - instead it covers all its bases, with recipes ranging from the perfect fried egg or vegetable stock to cassoulet. It is undaunting for a cooking newbie, and sumptuous enough for a proper foodie. The genius of this book is that by giving me the basics, I was undaunted by the more adventurous recipes suggested.

Recipes are divided, on the whole, into prime ingredients, and this serves as an encylopaedia not only on how to cook them, but when to buy them and what to look for. Each method is explained in a simple, detailed fashion, offering hints and trivia along the way (aided by the classic and simple design). I can honestly say that this is an excellent guide to have on the kitchen bookshelf - great both as a reference and as an inspiration.
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on 28 December 2011
The name Joël Robuchon might not mean too much to you ... unless you are a food professional, a passionate home cook, interested in classic French cooking, a lover of fine food or a collector of the best cookbooks. Consider this as an introduction to one of the most celebrated of contemporary French chefs and one who has been awarded more Michelin Stars than any other chef. You know they don't give those away free with cornflakes... not even top-quality cornflakes!

Joël has a restaurant empire that reaches from Europe to America and Asia. That's not bad for a lad who had to find a job when he was only 15 years old. He was born in 1945 and by 1966 he was the official chef of La Tour de France, the most prestigious sporting event in the country. At 28 he was the head chef at Harmony-Lafayette and cooking 3000 meals each day (OK, he did have staff). Jamin in Paris was opened in 1981 and within 3 years he had 3 Michelin Stars under his belt.

The Complete Robuchon is a hefty tome of over 800 recipes. It looks an overwhelming size on the bookshelf but dip into these pages and you'll see that it's not going to spend much time on those bookshelves. This is a practical cookbook with sensible and accessible recipes that will be recognisable to family cooks all over France and beyond. Don't be put off by the weight of the book nor the French name but rather focus on the quality of the dishes.

These are not cheffy recipes. It's good old-fashioned cooking. Roast Duck is basic, traditional and delicious, and simple Buttered Cabbage relies on the quality of the produce rather than complicated cooking techniques. Skate Wings with Capers takes 2 minutes to prepare and only 13 minutes to cook. That's less time than most preprepared "instant" meals.

My favourite chapter is that of One-dish Meals and Regional Specialities, not because it's French food but rather because it has some of the finest rustic family cooking. Aligot is a winner of a dish of mashed potatoes, cheese and cream, and hails from the Massif Central, the central mountain range. Parisian Custard Tart is a lovely dessert but it's not difficult, and nods to bistros and cafes and visits to the Louvre.

The Complete Robuchon deserves respect for its breadth of information. It must surely be considered a classic, not because the author is star-spangled but because the recipes stand scrutiny. It's magnificent.
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on 26 August 2014
Very good book with a great variety of recipes and techniques. A shame though that some recipes do not state exactly the outcome of the procedures e.g. "cook in low heat for 12 minutes" but does not state the temperature or what you should be looking for when cooked for 12 minutes.
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on 8 March 2012
There is only one thing wrong with this book, the loose cover which annoyingly slips and falls of constantly. As regards everything else I have nothing but praise. The publishers have done a good job. The presentation is first class and the paper easy to read from. I find the recipes interesting and successful. Never a day passes that I do not consult and feel encouraged to attempt a recipe. I am so pleased I bought this book as I find in it all I wish from a cookery book
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