Top critical review
14 people found this helpful
With better pictures would have achieved top marks
on 25 August 2012
A little background information: Alain Passard removed all red meat from his three-Michelin-starred Paris restaurant L'Arpège in 2001, intending to concentrate predominantly on cooking with vegetables, the restaurant world was shocked.
At the end of summer 2002, Passard opened his own kitchen garden 150 miles from Paris, in Fillé(Payes De La Loire), on the grounds of an old chateau. The produce grown there are organic, without the use of any machinery. The only help the gardeners receive during harvest is the use of a draught horse.
To celebrate the restaurant's 25th anniversary, Passard gives homage to the humble vegetable and his love of art and collage in his new book, The Art of Cooking with Vegetables.
Most notably, Passard has chosen his own collages to illustrate each of the 48 recipes. (sounds great but did it work?)
Organised into seasons, within each recipe Passard includes a commentary on how he brings the ingredients together to share a relationship on the plate - in taste as well as visually. Each recipe also has a recommended wine (always a great bonus)
Recipes include herb-filled peppers on warm crusty bread or beetroot with leek, green apple and green tea; and red beetroot with lavender and crushed blackberries. There are also desserts, such as avocado soufflés with dark chocolate and baked apples with Hibiscus petals and sugared almonds so some "way out there combinations" I hear you say, but hey tried & tested and yes that's why he is a master chef fantastic...
The recipes are distinctly innovative, full of unexpected combinations and complex flavours and Passard has elevated the simple vegetable to an ingredient that can stand up on its own a master stroke.
Combining his passion for fresh and seasonal ingredients and art Passard has created a book that will change how many look at the humble vegetable.
However, I was disappointed by the collages. Although they were attractive in their own right, they did nothing to whet my appetite to try what were otherwise interesting-sounding recipes.
So you may say that I am old fashioned but I do love a great photo or fantastic picture of the finished item just to help the salivation process to start...