This will become a classic book.
I have loathed Gordon Ramsays previous 'celebrity chef' books which have offered watered down recipes which bore little or no relation to his Michelin star restaurant offerings.
I love this book with an equal passion. It is truely an inspirational work and is at last a book worthy of a Michelin 3 star chef.
The book itself comes in a nice case and is school atlas in size (bigger than A4 so it may not fit on every bookshelf). It is beautifully shot, printed and layed out. Not too disimilar to the French Laundry Cookbook.
This is both a cookbook and a description of running a Michelin 3 star restaurant. The first half of the book (printed on glossy paper) deals with the latter with full size pictures of the finished dishes later detailed and the inspiration behind some of them.
The second half of the book (printed on card) gives the recipes for these. Make no mistake these are the actual 3 star recipes from his Royal Hospital Road Restaurant in Chelsea, London. There are 16 starters 17 main courses and 17 dessert recipes. As you would expect they all look fantastic.
The recipes are each broken down nicely into their individual components with the suggested order for preparation of each including if bits can be made in advance. The text is very clear with lots of advice on how to achieve the desired results. Thumb nail pictures are present with each recipe so you know what you are aiming for and each of the recipes have a section on how to assemble the finished dish.
Most of his classic dishes are in this book including 'Pan-fried scallops with a millefeulle of potato, parmesan veloute and truffle smarties', 'Scallops with sweetcorn puree and quails eggs' and 'Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon with a lemongrass and chervil veloute'.
Having now cooked several of these recipes including the lobster ravioli the recipes really do work if you are prepared to invest the time and effort and the results are fantastic.
If you have progressed beyond basic cookbooks and are looking for a cookbook to create stunning dinner party fare this is an absolute must. Surely a bible for all Michelin Star Restaurant addicts.
Just like a three-star restaurant is quite different from your average restaurant, then this book is a complete contrast to the standard recipe books that you can buy, including others by Gordon Ramsay. It comes in a cardboard case, and the book itself is very heavy (over 2kg) and big (34cm x 26cm). The first recipe within the book does not appear until page 134, with a succession of glossy photographs preceding it. The book in its introduction gives you a little of Gordon Ramsay's personal history and a feel of what a three-star restaurant and kitchen are like. The book is anything but economical with space, sometimes featuring one brief sentence or paragraph per page. Normally this would be an unwelcome development but I think that the layout and style of this book is perfectly suited to its content. You could accuse it of being frivolous and over the top, just like a three-star restaurant experience should be. The recipes are beautifully presented, with a full list of ingredients on the left hand-page and an extremely detailed method described on the right-hand page. As you would expect, the food photography is as good as any recipe book as I have ever come across, leaving you in no doubt as to what you are trying to create. Knowing what the objective is and achieving it are two very different things of course. I have attempted maybe ten of the recipes in the book, mostly the simpler ones (relatively speaking). Some ingredients are hard to come by, others are expensive to acquire. Most of the recipes require some of the basics to be made, adding to the preparation time. If you were starting any of the main courses from scratch, you probably could expect to be slaving away in your kitchen for four hours minimum. I'm as far from a three-star chef as it's possible to be, but I can follow the recipes closely and make something that loosely resembles the photograph in the book that tastes quite good. My presentation is lacking, but some of the starters and desserts in particular are at least partially achievable for an amateur chef. If it were easy, I suppose there would be more than four three-star restaurants in the UK. This book gives you a great insight into what it takes to be a leading chef, even if most of us will never reach anywhere near that standard.
The contents page looks like this:
The 3-Star Experience 8
The Recipes 128
Main Courses 166
The full list of recipes (and basics) is as follows:
Pan-fried scallops with a millefeuille of potato, parmesan velouté and truffle smarties
Scallops with sweetcorn purée and quail's eggs
Mosaic of fruits de mer with saffron potatoes, tomato consommé and oscietra caviar
Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon with a lemongrass and chervil velouté
Salad of lobster with octopus carpaccio, roasted watermelon, baby squid and a shellfish sauce
Seared loin of tuna with poached veal fillet, spring truffles and caper dressing
Carpaccio of tuna and swordfish with a mixed herb salad and brown butter dressing
Fillet of red mullet with cod, spring onion and pearl barley risotto, and a sweet and sour pepper sauce
Ballotinee of foie gras with Label Anglais chicken, marinated shimeji mushrooms and a port vinaigrette
Pressed foie gras with Sauternes and camomile jelly
Fricassée of snails with spinach, baby artichokes, mushrooms, pancetta and Jerusalem artichoke purée
Tartare of beef fillet with oscietra caviar and marinated red and yellow peppers
Salad of asparagus, baby artichokes and Périgord truffles with a creamy truffle dressing
Griddled asparagus with sel de Guérande, served with a tomato vinaigrette
Butternut squash velouté with sautéed ceps, parmesan crisps and mushroom and white truffle tortellini
Chilled tomato consommé with asparagus, peas, tomato concassé and basil
Line-caught turbot roasted on the bone, with a garnish of stuffed baby peppers and spring vegetables
Pan-roasted fillet of John Dory with Cromer crab, crushed new potatoes and a basil vinaigrette
Char-grilled monkfish with confit duck, red and yellow peppers, and a red wine sauce
Pan-roasted fillet of halibut with carrot and coriander pappardelle, baby turnips, salsify and passion fruit sauce
Halibut fillets larded with smoked salmon, served with candied lemon, braised vegetables and smoked horseradish velouté
Pan-fried sea bass with roasted baby artichokes, borlotti beans and a cep velouté
Oven-roasted Bresse pigeon wrapped in Parma ham with foie gras, creamed mushrooms and a date sauce
Roast Gressingham duck breast with honey glazed baby onions and salsify, minted peas and a Madeira sauce
Roasted saddle and leg of rabbit on cauliflower, haricot blanc and baby gem lettuce, with a red wine sauce
Roasted loin of venison with braised red cabbage and parnsip chips
Navarin of lamb with buttered vegetables, celeriac purée and thyme jus
Best end of lamb with confit shoulder, Provençale vegetables, spinach and basil lamb jus
Roasted fillet of beef with a truffle and root vegetable infusion
Slow-braised pork belly with langoustine, crushed peas and Madeira sauce
Pork cheeks with pork fillet wrapped in Parma ham, black pudding, baby turnips and sautéed morels
Veal osso bucco with boulangère potatoes, Savoy cabbage, turnip purée and its own braising jus
Risotto of ceps with spring onions, grated truffle and parmesan
Caramelised pear tatin with gorgonzola ice cream and walnut cream
Caramelised apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream
Carrot and white chocolate fondant with dark chocolate sorbet
Toffee soufflé with a banana and lime ice cream
Lemon meringue with marinated strawberries
Plum crumble tart with almond frangipane
Raspberry compote with tarragon cream
Pineapple ravioli with mango filling, berries and mint sorbet
Pineapple and chilli soup with fromage frais foam
Sablé breton with raspberries, vanilla cream and vanilla ice cream
Tiramisu with coffee granita
Raspberry, lemon and basil millefeuille with milk ice cream
Palet d'or with chocolate and hazelnut ice cream and passion fruit cream
Slow-baked quince with crème catalan, Pedro Ximenez gelée and acacia honey granita
Chocolate parfait with passion fruit and guava coulis
Bitter chocolate mousse with coffee granita and light ginger cream
Apple parfait with honeycomb, bitter chocolate and champagne foam
Red wine sauce
Lemongrass with chervil velouté
Saffron pasta dough
Vanilla ice cream
Dried pear slices
on 9 November 2007
I am a fan of Gordon Ramsey - his passion and search for perfection is truely inspirational. Unlike his previous Made Easy and F-Word books (and most like his early book "Passion for Flavour"), this book is pitched at the foodie in all of us. It is based on food served at his 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Chelsea, London. This book oozes class, from its slip case to quality production throughout - best of all though, the food looks absolutely stunning. The photography, by Quentin Bacon, is worthy of the production Ramsey has achieved on the plate - from Ravioli of Lobster, Pan Roasted fillet of halibut to the (oh my God!) amazing desserts. The raspberry, lemon and basil millefeuille is a work of art!
This level of food, for the home cook like me, can be very intimidating. How can I possibily make this food? This brings me to the whole crutch of the book. As a photoessay on the quality of Ramseys food it works beautifully but does it work as a cook book for the amateur? As my first dip into the book I cooked the Roast Venison as main and then the Pineapple soup and Toffee souffle as dessert. I am happy to report that the recipes are clearly laid out (I recommend that you read them throughly a few times before you start - there can be a lot going on in the recipes). I particulary like the bullet point-like sentences that are incredibily helpful when the pans are bubbling away and you need a quick reminder.
Best of all, the recipes worked! I had never made souffle before but my souffle rose really nicely and tasted great on the night. I think this is crucial to what Gordon Ramsey is doing in his recipe books and I think perfected in the current book: giving the amateur cook an opportunity to share in his incredible talent and achieve delicious food. I want to visit his 3-stared Chelsea restaurant to compare my creations with his!
This inspirational book should become a classic. My first Michelin star is on the way!
Thanks for reading my views
on 3 January 2008
This is one hell of a book.
As someone who isn't a professional cook I write this from a keen home cook's point of view to help others thinking about buying.
First off as everyone has said this isn't for the novice. You will need to be competent in the home kitchen, motivated, not put off by plenty of prep work, ready for many individual sections to a single dish and sometimes long timescales from starting a dish to serving it. It also justifies some top class and specialist ingredients so you may need to go beyond the supermarket to make the most of these recipes.
For me personally, I bought this book because I have lots of "normal" cook books but wanted to challenge myself and raise my game for special occasions and dinner parties.
Much more than a reference, I found the photography and commentary section a real pleasure to read as well as inspiring, motivating and a nice reminder that you are venturing into haute cuisine. I particularly liked the addition of the basics section at the end with Ramsay's own recipes for stocks, dressings, etc. The glossary, while a bit small, may be useful to those who get their coulis and jus mixed up.
Having eaten at Royal Hospital Road it's nice to see Gordon release a book that captures why he's a 3 star Michelin chef.
I'll be following this up with French Laundry.
on 6 November 2008
Quite simply the most delicious culinary book I have seen or read in ages. The photography is sublime, the content supreme and the whole read a pleasure. If the photography doesn't have you reaching for the pots and pans, nothing will. However the pleasure is complete when attempting the recipes which are well laid out, easy to follow and really make one feel that even a mere amateur, can, with guts and determination achieve culinary perfection by following the pages. Having read Gordon's biographies and been a keen follower of his tv shows (both good and bad), this motor mouthed chef definitely has something unique aside from his distinctly flowery language. Determination, skill beyond compare and the ability to instill in others, the same driving force that he instilled in himself to get where he is today. Perfection doesn't come easy, but this book is as near close to perfect as I have found in a culinary book in many years. In years to come it will doubtless become a collectors item.
This book is simply stunning. No words can compare it any other cook book I have read before. If you like Gordon Ramsey's cooking, and always wondered what his real food is like, in the stuff that made him the success he is today, then this book is for you. It is about as close as you can come to having the man himself in your kitchen teaching you his recipes. Everyone in this book wouldn't be out of place in the best restaurant.
The recipes are easy to follow, the end products are exquisite, and the whole feel of the book is fantastic. A lovely slip cover, beautiful photos, and illustrations, mouth watering food. This is a Michelin star quality cookbook to the highest order, and anyone who loves food must not be without this superb, and well put together example. All this for an excellent price also. Gordon has done it again. 10/10. 5 Stars doesn't do it justice.