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Return to Cooking: The Chef, the Cook and the Artist

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2002


    We first read Ruhlman with his forays into the Culinary Institute (¿Making¿ and ¿Soul of a Chef¿) and then when he ghosted his first cookbook for Keller of Napa¿s ¿French Laundry¿. Unlike his previous ones though, this book¿s narrative is more than a bit hidden, like an Umberto Eco, semiotic, meta-textual exercise. Its conceit reveals itself slowly, through the publisher¿s flyleaf notes, and then through the chapter headings and sidebars, and the art-book paintings and food-porn photography. There are the Big Questions: cooking as craft versus cooking as art, spirituality of food. Supposedly this is an odyssey of friends, including Le Bernardin¿s Eric Ripert, experimenting, at four different locations, all American, in the four seasons of the year, all ¿home¿ cooking, all improvised, with all variety of ingredients and styles. (Yeah, right! Heavy on the caviar, foie gras, lobster, truffles¿) Yet this is still a ¿cookbook¿, and the recipes make for wonderful intermezzi. True to form, the cooking here is contempo-Californian and openly francophilic, techniques as precise as surgery, no shortcuts, very close attention to color and texture and presentation. That¿s the way it should be. I don¿t know if I¿ll cook anything from this book, but I do know that I¿ll be carefully reviewing what Chef Ripert did with this or that fish or meat or veg.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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