Ducasse Flavors of France

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9781579651077: Ducasse Flavors of France
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Brash, driven, and dazzlingly inventive, fourteen-star chef Alain Ducasse is a larger-than-life figure. At thirty-three, he was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars; and in 2005 he became the first chef in the world to win three stars for three restaurants, with a staggering total of fourteen stars spread across eight restaurants in three countries. He has mentored a generation of younger chefs who have introduced his cooking around the world and he has, quite simply, changed the face of traditional French cooking.

In this, his first American cookbook, M. Ducasse shares the principles and techniques of his uniquely elemental cuisine. At its core are clarity of taste, precision in execution, and respect for the food itself, which to Ducasse means retaining its essential flavor. That respect for true taste results in a multitude of simple but striking techniques. Ducasse uses as much of each ingredient as he can—the skins, the shells, the baking juices, the pan drippings, the heads, the cooking broth, all the by-products of the process—in order to capture the truest taste. He incorporates different preparations of the same ingredient into a given dish, each revealing an individual aspect of its flavor—sliced raw artichokes, braised whole artichokes, and paper-thin slices of fried artichoke, for example, might be featured together. The brilliance of his food—apparent in recipes made with no more than two ingredients enhanced by a simple aromatic element, with seasoning reduced to a few grains of salt—explains why he is "the country's star chef" (Wine Spectator) and "the Escoffier of our time" (Le Point).

Ducasse Flavors of France documents, in more than one hundred lavishly photographed recipes, the influences—Mediterranean, Provençal, and classical French—that permeate this extaordinary cuisine. Many of the recipes are simple, others complex, but all can be perfectly accomplished with a little time and patience.With its "alluringly simple dishes, like buttery fork-mashed potatoes, peppered slices of sauteed pumpkin, swordfish with citrus, exquisite chocolate tartlets, and a homey pear and honey cake made with big chunks of pear" (The New York Times), this is the most accessible Ducasse cookbook published. Yet there are still recipes to challenge ambitious cooks and great tips that will make all cooks better in the kitchen.

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Review:

Ducasse is a book you'll want to leave out on a coffee table. It is more than beautiful--left open, it has the power to transform the nature of a room with its exquisite photographs and recipes, which are as good to read as they are to cook from. Taken into the kitchen, the power is inherent in Ducasse to transform any meal well beyond the exemplary. But then there's the danger that a spill or greasy fingers might soil the pages, which would be tragic. And yet, this is not just another pretty book, something to thumb through and shrug off. This is a book to take to heart, starting with the first recipe--Fennel "Marmalade"--and then on to Cocotte of Young Spring Vegetables, Spiny Lobster with a Rhubarb-Ginger Chardonnay Sauce, and Chicken Fricassee with Morels, and so on, and so on, until you end up with Coffee and Chocolate Parfait with Dark Chocolate Sauce. Alain Ducasse is the only chef with six Michelin stars to his credit. In his kitchens and in his book he uses the best possible ingredients, treating each and every one with deserved respect. Recipes have been tried and tested to ensure perfection, and--reassuringly--dishes work well in the home kitchen. Ducasse is a wonderful teacher, and every page is filled with rich descriptions of flavor, color, texture, and aroma. Like so much about Alain Ducasse, it is a picture of food that defies language. You will recognize it, though, turning these gorgeous pages, plotting the next dish you choose to master. The opportunity exists with Ducasse to gain a new kind of fluency. --Schuyler Ingle

Book Description:

Brash, driven, and dazzlingly inventive, Alain Ducasse was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars, and in 1998, he became the first chef in over sixty years to earn three stars in two restaurants simultaneously. In 2005 he became the first chef in the world to win three stars for three restaurants ( “Trois fois trois étoiles,” read international headlines).

With its “alluringly simple dishes, like buttery fork-mashed potatoes, peppered slices of sauteed pumpkin, swordfish with citrus, exquisite chocolate tartlets, and a homey pear and honey cake made with big chunks of pear” ( The New York Times), this is the most accessible Ducasse cookbook published. Yet there are still recipes to challenge ambitious cooks and great tips that will make all cooks better in the kitchen.

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