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The French Laundry Cookbook

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2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley—“the most exciting place to eat in the United States” (The New York Times). The most transformative cookbook of the century celebrates this milestone by showcasing the genius of chef/proprietor Thomas Keller himself. Keller is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting i 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley—“the most exciting place to eat in the United States” (The New York Times). The most


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2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley—“the most exciting place to eat in the United States” (The New York Times). The most transformative cookbook of the century celebrates this milestone by showcasing the genius of chef/proprietor Thomas Keller himself. Keller is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting i 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley—“the most exciting place to eat in the United States” (The New York Times). The most transformative cookbook of the century celebrates this milestone by showcasing the genius of chef/proprietor Thomas Keller himself. Keller is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting it right. And this, his first cookbook, is every bit as satisfying as a French Laundry meal itself: a series of small, impeccable, highly refined, intensely focused courses. Most dazzling is how simple Keller's methods are: squeegeeing the moisture from the skin on fish so it sautées beautifully; poaching eggs in a deep pot of water for perfect shape; the initial steeping in the shell that makes cooking raw lobster out of the shell a cinch; using vinegar as a flavor enhancer; the repeated washing of bones for stock for the cleanest, clearest tastes. From innovative soup techniques, to the proper way to cook green vegetables, to secrets of great fish cookery, to the creation of breathtaking desserts; from beurre monté to foie gras au torchon, to a wild and thoroughly unexpected take on coffee and doughnuts, The French Laundry Cookbook captures, through recipes, essays, profiles, and extraordinary photography, one of America's great restaurants, its great chef, and the food that makes both unique. One hundred and fifty superlative recipes are exact recipes from the French Laundry kitchen—no shortcuts have been taken, no critical steps ignored, all have been thoroughly tested in home kitchens. If you can't get to the French Laundry, you can now re-create at home the very experience Wine Spectator described as “as close to dining perfection as it gets.”  

19 review for The French Laundry Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I've gone over this book a million times.I met Chef Keller at his restaurant,he gave me a tour of his kitchen.There are a lot of things in here that just blow your mind,but inspire you to think of food in a different way,There is also a lot of autobiographical information in here.Keller doesn't have the typical background of most big name chefs,working for all the big names in Paris,New York or San Francisco.He is self taught,which makes his food so different. He talks about how he decided to le I've gone over this book a million times.I met Chef Keller at his restaurant,he gave me a tour of his kitchen.There are a lot of things in here that just blow your mind,but inspire you to think of food in a different way,There is also a lot of autobiographical information in here.Keller doesn't have the typical background of most big name chefs,working for all the big names in Paris,New York or San Francisco.He is self taught,which makes his food so different. He talks about how he decided to learn how to kill and butcher rabbits.I really admire his reasoning and graphic description of this.These days we don't see how animals die and suffer through the process.Everything is shrink wrapped.I agree with him. If you want to eat meat,go hunt,butcher an animal,watch it's eyes close,feel warm blood on your arm.You'll have a greater love of that animal and a greater love of your meal.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    The French Laundry is probably the only place I would work for free. Had to put that in there in case Thomas Keller reads my Goodreads reviews. A truly inspirational book by a brilliant chef that isn't a douche bag. Few cookbooks fill me with jealousy like this one because I didn't think of the recipes. If you are serious about food, get this book. If you are kind of new to cooking, or are just "okay" at it, making some stuff in this book will really challenge you and help push you to the next l The French Laundry is probably the only place I would work for free. Had to put that in there in case Thomas Keller reads my Goodreads reviews. A truly inspirational book by a brilliant chef that isn't a douche bag. Few cookbooks fill me with jealousy like this one because I didn't think of the recipes. If you are serious about food, get this book. If you are kind of new to cooking, or are just "okay" at it, making some stuff in this book will really challenge you and help push you to the next level. Perhaps.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robert Wright

    Yes, this book has many mouthwatering recipes, but it is far from a "cookbook." It is a grand celebration of haute cuisine.The chef's protests to the contrary, it will take more than passion to accomplish an approximation of the recipes outlined in this book. What you need is here if you dare to try. But you'll also need a large bank account for ingredients and equipment, access to them, and time on your hands. This is a chef for whom only the finest will do, and woe betide the home cook, no mat Yes, this book has many mouthwatering recipes, but it is far from a "cookbook." It is a grand celebration of haute cuisine.The chef's protests to the contrary, it will take more than passion to accomplish an approximation of the recipes outlined in this book. What you need is here if you dare to try. But you'll also need a large bank account for ingredients and equipment, access to them, and time on your hands. This is a chef for whom only the finest will do, and woe betide the home cook, no matter how passionate, who can't afford the finest cookware or a generous supply of lobster, pate, and truffles.I'm not saying you shouldn't have a passion for fine ingredients. Just that other chefs have a better feel for bringing that passion into a relatable paradigm for typical home cooks. Encourage people to use the finest, freshest ingredients from their farmer's markets or other local sources, by all means. This is a large, coffee table style book, more intended for appreciation than execution of the recipes. And even in that appreciative aim, I think it falls flat due to a layout that often has pictures of the described food several pages away or not at all.A fine bit of food porn. But it doesn't make me want to cook. It makes me want to eat at the French Laundry.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Food porn at its best. While I most often love what has historically been "poor people food" (think pot roast, chicken pot pie, dishes cooked slowly and for a long, long time...Southern American and French provincial cuisines), I am also totally in love with food as art. In French Laundry, Keller documents the art that is created at his restaurant every day. Many of the recipes are not simple (a total of 28 pages dedicated to lobster mac and cheese and all the sub-recipes necessary), but if are Food porn at its best. While I most often love what has historically been "poor people food" (think pot roast, chicken pot pie, dishes cooked slowly and for a long, long time...Southern American and French provincial cuisines), I am also totally in love with food as art. In French Laundry, Keller documents the art that is created at his restaurant every day. Many of the recipes are not simple (a total of 28 pages dedicated to lobster mac and cheese and all the sub-recipes necessary), but if are dedicated to food, or simply want to page through and drool on yourself, this is the book for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    titi

    French Laundry, bar none, is the best restaurant in U.S of A. and this book substantiates that. Executing the recipes with success is what must mountain climbers feel after conquering Mr. Everest, or if you were a Catholic, like my mom, kissing the Pope's ring, or if you were my dad, sleeping with Sophia Loren. It is pure heaven. And the photography is delicious. French Laundry, bar none, is the best restaurant in U.S of A. and this book substantiates that. Executing the recipes with success is what must mountain climbers feel after conquering Mr. Everest, or if you were a Catholic, like my mom, kissing the Pope's ring, or if you were my dad, sleeping with Sophia Loren. It is pure heaven. And the photography is delicious.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    Beautiful book. Not a single thing in it that I would ever attempt to make on my own. Best to have saved the money and put it towards an appetizer at the restaurant itself one day. Because really, my kitchen (and yours) is not the French Laundry, so the result is bound to be a disappointment.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carla Patterson

    I learned to cook from my mother and her mother and I’m lucky that they, like Thomas Keller, promoted cooking as a delight in and of itself. Naturally, one cooks to eat, but to eat well, the cook needs to understand how to protect and enhance the flavor of the ingredients s/he is using. Since I have food allergies and other health restrictions, I like to have the very best versions of the foods I can eat. I also like to give people I love food experiences they will love in spite of any changes I I learned to cook from my mother and her mother and I’m lucky that they, like Thomas Keller, promoted cooking as a delight in and of itself. Naturally, one cooks to eat, but to eat well, the cook needs to understand how to protect and enhance the flavor of the ingredients s/he is using. Since I have food allergies and other health restrictions, I like to have the very best versions of the foods I can eat. I also like to give people I love food experiences they will love in spite of any changes I have made to recipes. I realized many years ago that using the freshest and least processed ingredients was key and that the American penchant for overlooking was something I’d rather avoid.But, what about the European dishes I learned to love as a child on the East Coast of the U.S.? In this book, Keller offers modern versions of classic dishes which are far from overcooked, even if they take time to make. He tells us how and why to do things in ways which will lead to immense satisfaction for both the cook and the diner.The photographs of dishes are really beautiful as well as informative and the index of specialty foods and tools, and where to find them, is much appreciated.

  8. 4 out of 5

    A Street

    Very detailed explanations to make gourmet food. Beautiful, inspirational photography. A lot of techniques for “normal” cooking can be mined from the fine dining recipes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir Semenov

    Simply amazing classic of fine dining

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rafal

    As much a cookbook as a manifesto and cornerstone of an entire movement in food and cooking.I think one of the best ways to talk about this book is that it is essentially the antithesis of 30 minute meals. Now I am a fan of Rachel Ray and her work so do not take this as a negative. Keller takes an almost Buddhist approach to cooking. From mindfulness of your ingredients (whether they be ideally sourced or not) to an unabashed focus while cooking, Keller advocates enjoying the process rather than As much a cookbook as a manifesto and cornerstone of an entire movement in food and cooking.I think one of the best ways to talk about this book is that it is essentially the antithesis of 30 minute meals. Now I am a fan of Rachel Ray and her work so do not take this as a negative. Keller takes an almost Buddhist approach to cooking. From mindfulness of your ingredients (whether they be ideally sourced or not) to an unabashed focus while cooking, Keller advocates enjoying the process rather than seeing it as tedium. Very much a sense of "If you can't get out of it, get into it."As for the recipes, they actually range from the approachable to the challenging. I do not doubt anyone with basic cooking skills cannot make quite a few of the things here. Many recipes like the gazpacho, gougeres, and lemon tart are fairly simple in their execution while being refined to a level of clarity. Think consomme vs regular soup.This is not to say there aren't quite a few challenges. Many main dishes have a myriad of ingredients and preparations, which, assuming you have taken the "enjoy the process" mantra seriously, will give you a full day of fun. I have made several dishes from this book and all are delicious. A few are even transcendent. Whenever people ask me about this book I always encourage them to read it. even if you skip reading the recipes, a lot of Keller's asides will open your eyes to food issues you may have been aware of. If people are intimidated by the book, I always always ALWAYS encourage them to try a few recipes from it. There are a ton of simpler recipes here that you can make even if you are not ready for the challenges of Keller's full menus.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Yves

    For great Chefs, their philosophy about food takes precedence. Always important is its taste, provenance, treatment while being raised as well as being prepared.That is the amazing thing about this book ... the philosophy flows through every recipe. Every individual element of each recipe seems to stand on its own ... case in point:I am lucky enough to have a test kitchen at my disposal. As I was reading this amazing book, the recipe on Sea Bass catches my eye, or rather, the artichoke ravioli s For great Chefs, their philosophy about food takes precedence. Always important is its taste, provenance, treatment while being raised as well as being prepared.That is the amazing thing about this book ... the philosophy flows through every recipe. Every individual element of each recipe seems to stand on its own ... case in point:I am lucky enough to have a test kitchen at my disposal. As I was reading this amazing book, the recipe on Sea Bass catches my eye, or rather, the artichoke ravioli side dish does. I make only the ravioli ... heaven on Earth. No wine can go with it but man oh man another world and totally worth the work of making fresh pasta.I then tackled the fricassee of escargot 🐌... right up to the end it seemed like too much work for the result but the taste! I added roasting shallots to my cooking skills.This book is worth every dollar because it is not only about cuisine, it is about cooking at a higher level, with attention to detail.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Misha

    I need to get my own copy of Thomas Keller's the French Laundry so I can read it again and keep it as a reference. Years ago, my executive chef lent me his copy saying it was a "must read". Today I have to agree. The hefty cookbook reads as an easy textbook with recipes. The 7 Michelin star Chef explains how waters affect the taste of seafood and other informative hows and whys in a conversational tone without being condescending. My roast chicken has never been better thanks to this book. I hig I need to get my own copy of Thomas Keller's the French Laundry so I can read it again and keep it as a reference. Years ago, my executive chef lent me his copy saying it was a "must read". Today I have to agree. The hefty cookbook reads as an easy textbook with recipes. The 7 Michelin star Chef explains how waters affect the taste of seafood and other informative hows and whys in a conversational tone without being condescending. My roast chicken has never been better thanks to this book. I highly recommend this book for casual and professional cooks alike. Since I first read the French Laundry in 2013, I have acquired my own copy of Keller's Bouchon cookbook, taken a few photos of Keller's restaurant the French Laundry, and had the pleasure of dining at Bouchon in Napa Valley. I'm overdue for another visit, gastronomically and literary-wise.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Cowley

    Fabulous! Read it for the theory and philosophy of cooking- not just for the practice: otherwise none as an individual recipes. Many home cooks may not be willing to make complicated recipes but many are. Cooking custards in the original egg shells held upright in egg cartons is a terrific idea- and quite easily replicated in a home cooks’ kitchen. Trying new ways of doing things is what makes a good cook a great cook, and is an evolution which takes time. I love that this inspires and excites m Fabulous! Read it for the theory and philosophy of cooking- not just for the practice: otherwise none as an individual recipes. Many home cooks may not be willing to make complicated recipes but many are. Cooking custards in the original egg shells held upright in egg cartons is a terrific idea- and quite easily replicated in a home cooks’ kitchen. Trying new ways of doing things is what makes a good cook a great cook, and is an evolution which takes time. I love that this inspires and excites me to cook something new- not that I hope to become a 5 star chef. Worth every penny!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    not just a cookbookI spent a lot of time reading this book and reading thru each recipe and walking through the techniques. i thoroughly enjoyed it. It makes me a better cook. just the proper cooking of green vegetables alone is worth it. so much great technique detail that you will surely use even in everyday cooking. You will think differently about what you are cooking and how to extract the most and best flavor from it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kiera

    Can’t say I have the patience to make many (or any) of these recipes, but I loved reading all of the background info about the purveyors and their products. I also love reading cookbooks that aren’t just cookbooks, but actually stories about the food, the ingredients, and the thought process behind a recipe.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Coraline Riley

    Beautiful cookbook. Keller goes over several essential techniques, with a specific haute cuisine aspect that only he could create. There are aspects of his style of cookery which would make it difficult for the home chef like me to achieve. But, I do appreciate how Keller lists purveyors in the back of the cookbook for those "hard to find" ingredients. Beautiful cookbook. Keller goes over several essential techniques, with a specific haute cuisine aspect that only he could create. There are aspects of his style of cookery which would make it difficult for the home chef like me to achieve. But, I do appreciate how Keller lists purveyors in the back of the cookbook for those "hard to find" ingredients.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Kirschner

    This cookbook is amazing. Ingredients- types of fish and meat can be hard to find. But each recipe and what you learn cooking from the book is challenging and well worth the effort. I do have some issues where certain purées and other elements do not get to the desired consistency. I wonder if there are some errors. Does anyone know how to ask the publishers’ questions?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cristy

    This coffee table sized tome covers recipes made in the kitchens of the famous French Laundry. These are not in any way for the average home cook. This is not beginner stuff, it is advanced by any metric. Everything is done the long way around exactly as Mr. Keller prefers it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Copeland

    If you love challenges and have a lot of time, this is the place to go for perfection. I haven't used it in years--I cooked from this in my pre-kids days, but I will never give this book up regardless. If you love challenges and have a lot of time, this is the place to go for perfection. I haven't used it in years--I cooked from this in my pre-kids days, but I will never give this book up regardless.

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