Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking French
Published: October 15, 2000
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The best chefs know that incredible meals don't start in the kitchen--they start with the farmers, butchers, and seafood merchants. Where you get your ingredients is the key to fine dining. In Harvesting Excellence, acclaimed chef Alain
Ducasse, of Manhattan's Alain Ducasse at Essex House and two three-star Michelin restaurants, takes us on a journey across the United States to visit the people who supply restaurants with the highest-caliber ingredients.
"While each region had
drawn from its terroir--the climate, soil, and sun--to yield singular products," says Ducasse, "the flare and individuality of the multiple cultural influences in the United States have set the stage for modern American cuisine." Visit Coach Farm in
upstate New York, where fromager Miles Cahn makes fresh goat cheese daily with milk from his herd of 1,000 goats. From there travel to Portland, Maine, and attend a fish auction where a prize halibut goes for $20 a pound. In Silicon Valley, a
four-generation family farm produces cherries and apricots in the midst of the booming technology empire--and prays that they won't lose their lease and fertile farmland to commercial ventures. A connoisseur of beef, Ducasse thinks the Makache cattle of
Arizona, tended by true cowboys, rivals Kobe beef in flavor and texture. What an animal eats affects the flavor of its meat, so when pigs are fed apples (they prefer Macintoshes) their meat "tastes almost as though caramelized and resembles an
old-fashioned candied roast." On this same farm in Pennsylvania, chickens are fed cornmash mixed with milk for a lighter, moister meal with a delicate flavor.
Whether visiting a farm famous for its smoked pepper or for its succulent Meyer lemons,
Harvesting Excellence is an interesting, intimate look at the people who raise and cultivate the food so artfully presented to you at our nation's best restaurants. --Dana Van Nest
Alain Ducasse, the celebrated French chef,
has discovered throughout the country, an excellence in food products that has inspired and reshaped his vision of Haute Cuisine. Whether it be in the cold Atlantic waters off the northern coast of Maine or the crimson-colored Arizona mountains, Alain
Ducasse has found fishermen, ranchers and farmers across the nation whose products rank among the world's finest food. Harvesting Excellence celebrates the men and women who devote themselves to the artistry of creating first-rate food products. Here is
the ultimate gourmet tour of what lies at the heart of all great cooking - great ingredients. And as a final touch, top chefs from all over the country give tips on selecting and preparing the best products for traditional or creative cooking.
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