Bought as a cook book which is not, even though it has some very nice recipes, just a few of Liebrandts gems are in it. But its more like a memoire which is so energy packed of dreams, I really loved the book, it gave me a better picture of a hardworking chef, his ambitions and dreams. The movie a matter of taste gave me just a gram of the kilos of passion that this book contents.
not so much a recipe book as an autobiography of the chefs rise through the some of the greatest restaurants in the world to where he is now, with the trials and tribulations along the way, with honest reviews of mistakes that helped mould his career. a roller coaster of a ride when he went to america to the top of his profession. excellent.
Now I have heard the name Paul Liebrandt many times over the years from good friends & Ex colleagues who have been in the same kitchens and at last he has released his first publication;
It is part biography, part cookbook. It tells of his journey through some of the most notable kitchens in the UK of the past 20 years, with such legends as:
Marco Pierre White (The Restaurant, 3 star Michelin) Richard Neat (Pied a Terre, 2 star Michelin) Raymond Blanc (Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, 2 star Michelin) Jean George Vongerichten (Vong) Gary Hollihead & David Cavalier (L'Escargot, 1 star Michelin)
Then onto kitchens in France (Pierre Gagnaire) & NYC. Liebrandt, and co-author, Andrew Friedman, lay down what it is really like to work for exacting chefs such as Neat & MPW.
The romance that surrounds the cheffing world is about as far removed from reality, as Heston Blumenthal is self taught. Incidentally, Blumenthal pens the forward for `To the bone', likening Liebrandt to:
"A kindred spirit - someone who,culinary speaking, speaks my language"
Personally having read `To the bone' and several of Blumenthal's books, along with having eaten at The Fat Duck, I fail to see the similarities. Hestons Blumenthal's food is about extremes, he does things because it can be done, and yes he's an innovator in those sorts of terms.
But I have to say that Chef Liebrandt is more subtle than that. In an early chapter he recounts spending his only day off (Sunday) from Marcos The Restaurant -. He links this story with `girl-watching' at the pub, with a dish called `Summer crab composition', saying:
"The focal point for me , though, is the gelée, shaped like a summer dress and fashioned, appropriately enough, from Asian white beer" that I may say is from a fantastic observation & Mind set.
If you are going to buy `To the bone' for the recipes, I personally think you'll be disappointed. In a 272 page tome, only 40 of them are devoted to the recipes of dishes which illustrate the book.
But as a book, by a chef, then it is probably one of the most engaging that I've read; the way that chapters are interspersed with splashes of food pornography, beautifully shot by Evan Sung.
It's no wonder such chef luminaries as Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz & Daniel Boulud penned reviews for the back cover.
The deeper you delve into this book, the more you want it to be a coffee table version. It deserved to be more!
Please don't get me wrong, what the Chef & the people around him have produced is an excellent book. l Liebrandt's writing reminded me of when I first read Richard Neat's 5 Questions, so eloquent & precise; `To the bone' has the possibility of being this generations `White Heat'.
Yes, I know that is a bold statement, but the sad realization is that it probably won't be.
For all the food porn in `To the bone', I just get the feeling that younger chefs will fail to read the early parts of the book, and unfortunately this is all to indicative of today's young chefs; style over substance,
Where as Chef Paul Liebrandt, is anything but having given the early part of his life to his love & passion....
Loved this book.. Great accompany piece to the A Matter Of Taste Documentary. Not a cook book per se.. But has some amazing insights and collection of recipes and very very inspiring story that all chefs will relate to..