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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2011
I know that this legendery book has been around over 12 years but it is just one that I return to time & again....Here are some reasons for this:
The French Laundry Cookbook is much more than a cookbook--it's an educational experience. As the first cookbook from Thomas Keller, chef and proprietor of culinary temple The French Laundry in Napa Valley, it not only provides the recipes for 150 of his elegant creations, but takes you on a journey through essays, profiles and exceptional photography.

The book is separated into six categories: canapés, first course, fish, meat, cheese and dessert. This cookbook is not for the novice chef, as Keller's recipes can be very involved--they are time-consuming and require commitment. They are the exact recipes the restaurant uses daily and are not simplified for at-home cooking, although helpful tips are included to make some aspects easier.

Throughout the book, Keller takes brief pauses to elaborate on subjects he feels are significant, such as "The Importance of Hollandaise" and "The Importance of Trussing a Chicken." Stocks, sauces, powders and vegetable cutting techniques are also featured and explained in detail. Profiles are used to give the ingredients a personality, such as "The Pittsburgh Lamber," "The Mushroom Lady," and "The Accidental Fishmonger." Each story teaches you something about that ingredient and offers a new appreciation for it.

The recipes, as well as the dining experience at The French Laundry, begin with one of Keller's favorite dishes, "cornets," or salmon tartare with sweet red onion crème fraîche. Other featured recipes include soft poached quail eggs with applewood smoked bacon, Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab "sandwich," citrus-marinated salmon, and saddle of rabbit in applewood-smoked bacon with caramelized fennel and fennel oil.

If you have a passion for culinary art, and the time to invest in it, The French Laundry Cookbook is a must-have. Keller's approach to classical French cuisine encourages chefs to slow down and fully engage themselves in cooking--something that has been replaced by the fast food and frozen dinners mentality of today's society
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If you want to cook Michelin standard recipes look no further than this cookbook from what many rate as the Best restaurant in the world. Although whether this Napa Valley restaurant is the worlds best may be a matter of personal taste, what is certainly not in doubt is the quality of this work. The recipes are clearly laid out with comprehensive instructions. All the recipes would be Michelin star winning in Europe and though not for the faint hearted are stunning and worth all the effort required.
The book is beautifully shot and is in itself a work of art.
It almost goes without saying that any serious amateur or proffessional cook should have this bible on their shelf. Superb (but from the best restaurant in the world you would expect no less!)
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on 25 September 2011
This is an amazing book, by far the best book I have ever read. The explainations, the techniques, the recipes, the pictures, its second to none.

This is the first book that has a lot of different techniques for one dish. This really makes you recreate 3 star dishes which I have never seen before in any other book.
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on 9 February 2009
I had not heard of Thomas Keller and bought this book as a present for my other half who is a superb cook, and does not mind how fiddly or time consuming a recipe might be, as long as the end result is worth the effort. He fell in love with this book straight away, as I knew he would. It really is a beautiful book, well laid out with stunning photography and superbly crafted dishes. I'm so glad that I saw it, read the other reviews and decided to buy it.
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on 31 December 2011
I love this type of book. A big chunky foody tome filled with stunning images of magnificent food and plenty of words inbetween to tell you everything you need to know about the who's, where's, when's and how's. It is a great book, fast becoming one of my pick it up and browse favourites. More of a lookbook than a cookbook the food is ofcourse ridiculously OTT and impossibly complicated, but when it's made by one of the best chefs in the world it does of course look amazing and decepyively simple. Even if it will ever only grace your coffe table so your guests can pick it up and leaf through it before lunch or during a dinner party I would urge you to buy it. Have it laying open on the table at a particularly beautiful image of something amazing (The citrus marinated Salmon P.139 for instance) and it will be a talking point for everyone. Just hope that they don't expect you to produce any of the dishers for your next gathering!I love it, I hope you do too.
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2008
This book is amazing. Not only does it look great, the recipes contained within it are superb. It is so beautifully produced that it wouldn't look out of place on your coffee table or in your kitchen.

However, it is the food that this is really about. The French Laundry has three Michelin stars and is consistantly voted the best restaurant in North America and one of the top five in the world. Having been lucky enough to eat there and then wondered how the chefs are able to create such amazing dishes, I now know.

This book makes it possible to create Michelin star dishes at home. Sure, they can be very fiddly and a lot of work, but you can do it and it really makes you appreciate the work that goes into putting that marvellous food in front of the customers, day in/day out.

If you are really serious about good quality, haute cuisine then this book is a must. If you're not, then enjoy it for the fabulous photography and anecdotes, and leave it on your coffee table to impress guests.
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on 25 November 2007
Truly an amazing book, if you happen to be at the stage where you have mastered the basics of home cooking, and begin to be bored by the ideas of Jamie or Nigella. Thomas Keller admits to his recipes being a little complicated at times, and they are, but they were definitely the next step for me. Oh, and you should not think that all his Michelin-stars and all those years in professional kitchens have taken Keller too far from average home cooks: in most recipes, he notes the things you might see and would probably be alarmed by and tells you how things look when they are normal and when you should start lowering the heat. If you're prepared to spend a few hours in the kitchen to get some "wow"-s and "oh my God, you're a genious"-s from your guests or family, buy the book.
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on 10 May 2001
I think to really "get" this food I needed to read Ruhlman's "the soul of a chef" (he was also the "writer" on TFLC) which has a big section devoted to Keller and the excitement of eating at the French Laundry. This has to be one of the most beautiful cookbooks I've read - and the recipes seem doable if you take plenty of time and plan well....and have a few bits of critical equipment...and a few excellent suppliers....and if you're a detail nut. This is the sort of cookbook that makes you want to be a chef. Marvellous.
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on 9 December 2014
Bought as a requested present. Looks good, but recipes aren't for the faint hearted! Not sure if it was asked for as a coffee table book or they will be embarking on the recipes! Nice looking book though!
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on 2 February 2015
Bought this book for christmas for my boyfriend, as he is a chef and has wanted it for some time. the quality of this book is second to none and absolutley immaculate, but its very heavy, it was wrapped very nicely, great for fine dining chefs
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