Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking French
L'Atelier of Alain Ducasse : The Artistry of a Master Chef and His Proteges
John Wiley and Sons
Published: February 11, 2000
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Presumably anyone who can afford the $150 to $300 a head it takes to dine at one of Alain Ducasse's restaurants won't blanch at the hefty price tag on this glossy testimonial to the great master's gastronomy. L'Atelier of Alain Ducasse is
like an elaborate program you bring home from the opera and may have about as much practical value. In his introduction, Jean-Francois Revel of the Academie Francaise suggests there's a certain pointlessness to even thinking about cooking along the lines
of the recipes presented by Ducasse. Revel emphasizes again and again the high quality of the ingredients Ducasse works with, implying that such ingredients by their very nature are out of reach of mere mortal cooks. "In these modern times," Revel
writes, "the land is far removed from nature, and nature has found refuge in haute cuisine. For now nature has become too expensive: in the kitchen, as elsewhere, it has become a supreme luxury." So with the caveat that you will never find the special
ingredients it takes to make any of these dishes really sing and that the skill level is professional, Ducasse divides his book into sections based on his favorite ingredients: olives and olive oil, asparagus, wheat, the white Alba truffle, bass, turbot,
lamb, and lemons and citrus fruits. The recipes have been produced by Ducasse and a handful of his core students including Franck Cerutti, Jean-Louis Nomicos, Sylvain Portay, Jean-Francois Piege, and Alessandro Stratta. Good writing would have carried
this book way over the top, but good writing is what it lacks. The essays are wooden, perhaps attributable to translation, and the recipes, of course, are out of reach. That leaves the photos, which makes this a beautiful book for the coffee table.
Alain Ducasse, the charismatic, innovative and demanding master chef, invites us to enter the prestigious world of French haute gastronomie.
Brilliantly guided by the distinguished author,
Jean-François Revel of the Académie Française, we follow this champion of the highest standards in food and its preparation as he creates new recipes, continues his constant search for the finest ingredients, and discovers new techniques and new domains
in which to practice his art.
Hervé Amiard's photographs illustrate all four sections of the book, providing the backdrop to this fascinating journey.
L'Atelier, where we witness the creative process and catch the spontaneous gestures
and glances of the master chef and his pupils as they exercise their skills. Here too, we meet Alain Ducasse's five star pupils: Franck Cerutti, Jean-Louis Nomicos, Jean-François Piège, Sylvain Portay and Alessandro Stratta.
Producers, in which Bénédict Beaugé visits Alain Ducasse's suppliers and hears from the master chef why olives, asparagus, wheat, white Alba truffles, sea bass, turbot, lamb and Menton lemons are his favorite ingredients.
Vegetables, where we
learn why these products play such a crucial role in Alain Ducasse's culinary vision.
Recipes, where the master and his students create delicious, stylish dishes from the eight chosen ingredients.
Ceaselessly striving to achieve
perfection, Alain Ducasse offers the reader a magnificent lesson in gastronomy. For the first time, Alain Ducasse gives gourmets the opportunity to put themselves in the place of his brilliant pupils. A privilege to be enjoyed to the fullest!
Alain Ducasse Famous from Paris to New York, from Turin to Tokyo, the renowned master chef is at the helm of two of France's most prestigious restaurants: the Louis XV-Alain Ducasse in Monaco and the Restaurant Alain Ducasse in Paris. Both these temples
of French gastronomy have achieved the exceptional honor of receiving three stars from the Michelin Guide. This accomplished gastronome has developed two contrasting and complementary culinary styles: relaxed, spontaneous Mediterranean cookery and the
rigorously classic cuisine of the French capital.
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