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on 7 March 2008
This is a beautifully presented book showcasing hundreds of creations to come out Ducasse's kitchens. It is not for nothing that this man has three triple-starred restaurants; the quality of his work is extraordinary.

It is probably fair to say that most people wouldn't buy this for the recipes (if you are looking to attempt many of the dishes, you'll need deep pockets, excellent local food suppliers and a well-equipped kitchen, not to mention an extraordinary amount of skill). However this doesn't detract from its beauty as a book for the coffee table and to promote discussion.

My only negative point is that this edition is probably too small to do many of the pictures justice - if you are willing to pay the price for the upgrade to the large format edition it is probably worth it.
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on 6 September 2008
What a beautiful book! I have coveted the large format version of this book for some time Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Duccasse's Culinary Encyclopedia but I could not justify the price. In this format the book is just as beautiful and now affordable.

It is presented as an encyclopaedia of ingredients with recipes to cook them. Beginning with Acacia blossom, artichokes and asparagus ending with wood pigeon, woodcock and zucchini. There are for example 20 individual Asparagus recipes each complete with full colour pictures, a huge 29 Sea Bass recipes.

The recipes are clearly presented, well laid out, each one with a picture of the finished dish with presentation instructions. The book does assume a high level of culinary skill, there are no descriptions of techniques.

On the down side, mistakes in the translation from French to English are not uncommon. Sometimes it means you need to read the text through again to extract the meaning, other times there are errors translating the units. For example one recipe calls for a 73lb (3.5kg) Sea Bass or 1 3/4 fluid ounces is repeatedly translated as (50 CL) which is half a litre. You have to read the recipe carefully to work out which is correct.

Would I recommend this book? Oh Yes! If you have a foodie in the family this is the ideal gift, especially at this price. For anyone with a good level of culinary skill this book is an essential addition to the cook book library. I would have given five stars but for the errors in translation.
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on 9 November 2007
i first saw this book about a year ago. the chef at the restaurant i work at has a copy and after allmost an hour of looking at it decided i needed it, only problem was the price tag which was £160. when i saw this book in a revised edition for only £40 i didnt know quite what to think. at first i thought it must be paperback but then found out it was hardcover. well....it came today and i can tell you the only difference is the page size. no, i'm not talking about the ammount of pages but only the actual size of the page. its about the size of A4 paper, but i see that as a plus not a minus!
the book is layed out alphabetically and goes by ingredient. its ONLY recipes though. nothing inspirational as far as quotes of philosophies but if you looking for recipes you can adapt to somthing of your own then this is the ticket. it's all very ducasse in style. very minimalist and lets the products speak for themselves. the only thing that i think may be a bad point to the home cook is the reaccuring theme of truffles, foie gras ect. it's food thats decadent and not really home cook kinda stuff. if your someone in the professional world though its a keeper and well worth the £26.
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on 13 October 2007
Alain Ducasse is one of the greatest chefs in the world. Therefore, when the book is described as being for, "..professional chefs and experienced home cooks" it means just that. However, follow the recipes closely and you will create some amazing meals. There may be techniques of which you are not aware, but isn't one of the wonders of cooking the ability to learn new things? If you learn how to use this book properly, you cannot help but become a much better cook. This is not for the part-time, 5 minute, cook. There are many excellent books to cover that area of cooking.

Bon Apetit!
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on 11 December 2006
Review of Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary

Hard to know how far culinary gods can go for further recognition when their empires are booming. I was truly disappointed by this tome, which should have been ambitiously wonderful had it been given more consideration and time to perfect.

Perhaps it would like to be an encyclopedia but rather seems to this reader to be intense cookbook trying to cover all fancy gastronomic bases. One can, of course, get ideas but recipes appear not properly tested so you need to have a serious command of the kitchen to find your way with stocks, sauces, details of the dish etc. In this way, the average serious cook may feel intimidated. After seven hundred recipes, I rather doubt too many copies will have that worn-in feeling a great cookbook develops when used and loved.

The translation into English is full of mistakes. Once remaindered for a good price - the book will be worth it for gorgeous photographs. The original or updated Larousse Gastronomique from 1996 is full of cross references, fun, traditional, inspiring and anything you want it to be in comparison except perhaps his presentation of so-called `haute, haute' cuisine. Hard to know how much Ducasse wanted to look like the king along with the five chefs who assisted in this endeavor. How much more does he need to show off.

As a serious foodie, serious amateur chef for thirty-five years and writer, I prefer to rave not demote. In this case, sadly, the book might do better as an impressive doorstop with a top brand name.

Victoria Oscarsson
oscarsson@utanet.at
Vienna Austria
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on 25 July 2011
I'll try to keep this review simple and practical.
So, what is it? It's basically a very large alphabetically-arranged list of recipes by the great master chef, with a section at the back of basic recipes, including stocks, breads, biscuits etc.
The recipes themselves are professional standard, not adapted for the home cook. If I were to follow the recipes to the letter, I would probably be able to make about 1% of the recipes, so if you're looking for a practical recipe book for entertaining friends, I'd look elsewhere , unless you have a good supply of duck's heads, ox jowls, thrush meat etc.
However, if you're looking for inspiration, this book is an extraordinary insight into a world of cookery far beyond the home chef.
I've learned so much from this book. So far, I've concentrated on the soup-making techniques in the recipes, Now my soups are absolutely delicious and packed with flavour. Why is my spellchecker telling me off for spelling flavour correctly? Anyway.
I haven't made any of the recipes in full, because I simply can't find or afford half of the ingredients, but I've learned many basic elements, ideas and techniques, and with a little imagination you can apply these elements to the ingredients that you can afford, and use them to invent your own dishes.
So, to sum up, if you're a recipes-only chef looking for new dishes to make, this isn't your book (try Ducasse Made Simple); if you're a creative cook, looking to learn from the masters and improve your culinary vocabulary, you will absolutely marvel at this enormous volume of French cuisine at its genius best.
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on 28 January 2010
The recipes are relatively advanced - some very advanced. Food cost is high. The food illustrations are best in class. This is the ultimate, advanced French cooking bible. Many recipes have a southern french accent.
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on 1 July 2008
Review of Alain Ducasse's Culinary Dictionary

Hard to know how far culinary gods can go for further recognition when their empires are booming. I was truly disappointed by this tome, which should have been ambitiously wonderful had it been given more consideration and time to perfect.

Perhaps it would like to be an encyclopedia but rather seems to this reader to be intense cookbook trying to cover all fancy gastronomic bases. One can, of course, get ideas but recipes appear not properly tested so you need to have a serious command of the kitchen to find your way with stocks, sauces, details of the dish etc. In this way, the average serious cook may feel intimidated. After seven hundred recipes, I rather doubt too many copies will have that worn-in feeling a great cookbook develops when used and loved.

The translation into English is full of mistakes. Once remaindered for a good price - the book will be worth it for gorgeous photographs. The original or updated Larousse Gastronomique from 1996 is full of cross references, fun, traditional, inspiring and anything you want it to be in comparison except perhaps his presentation of so-called `haute, haute' cuisine. Hard to know how much Ducasse wanted to look like the king along with the five chefs who assisted in this endeavor. How much more does he need to show off.

As a serious foodie, serious amateur chef for thirty-five years and writer, I prefer to rave not demote. In this case, sadly, the book might do better as an impressive doorstop with a top brand name.
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on 10 February 2009
This book is packed with great recipes.A book well worth the spend.I am in catering and rate this book as one of the most best i have ever had.It will keep me interested for years.
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on 13 June 2010
A very comprehensive book, very nicely photographed. Best thing - tells you HOW to present the dish, something that is lacking in cookery books in general.
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