Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Quoted "people will take from it what they want"., 25 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Marque: A Culinary Adventure (Hardcover)
Executive Chef & patron Mark Best gives a clear picture of what life is like at a restaurant pushing the boundaries in the gastronomic world. (Gourmet Travellers restaurant of the year)

The chef wants you to peel eight mandarins, remove all their pith and dehydrate them for 12 hours, also to freeze 150 grams of Duck foie gras terrine overnight then grate it into a small thermal container half-filled with liquid nitrogen. And then to clean A kilo of duck livers and soak them in milk overnight, strain them, rinse them, dry them and then seal them in bags in olive oil under moderate pressure and cook them in a water bath at 58C for eight minutes. So you will need a well equipped kitchen to follow all the recipes.

The Chef in other words, wants a lot from you, and isn't going to take any shortcuts. (Very Roux/Ladenis like)

Some of the recipes require dehydrators, others combi-ovens and Pacojets, and there's no mention of substitutions. All require commitment and a fairly serious investment of time. Its glossary encompasses as much "chocolate spray gun", "Versawhip" and "xanthan gum" as "Époisses de Bourgogne" and "sabayon".

It's not, in other words, necessarily going to be a big help feeding the kids on a Tuesday night, but it does provide a very clear picture of what life is like at a restaurant on the cutting edge.

Marque stand-outs such as roast marron with vadouvan spice and cos, and tuna on toast with foie gras butter, are in there, along with all the nuts and bolts, from the restaurant's sourdough starter and cultured butter to recipes for squid stock, licorice water and jamón Ibérico consommé ("cut 1 kilogram jamón Ibérico into lardon-sized pieces...").

"It's a document that chronicles 12 years of Marque and, recipe-wise, focuses on the last three to four," says The Chef

One of the most striking things about the book, apart from the crisp photography, is the fact that ingredients aren't listed separately in the recipes ahead of the method.

From the interesting introduction, which takes us from chefs childhood in rural South Australia and his apprenticeship as an electrician in the mines of Norseman, Western Australia, to Sydney where he found his calling.

The book, is for "chefs, customers and anyone who's interested", but he says he doesn't want to talk too much about who's going to buy it and what they're going to do with it "because I think people will take from it what they want".

For all its complexity, however, Marque isn't short of moments of levity, and not every recipe takes days of work and a bench full of kitchen tech. Best cites the Sauternes custard - one of the few true stayers on the otherwise dynamic Marque menu - as the simplest expression of his cooking. "I think it'll become a dinner-party standard for those that are going to buy the book. If you can master a crème caramel then you can master this."
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