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Did you know that world-renowned chef Boulud lives above his eponymous New York City restaurant? This and other personal details unfold in Boulud's massive cookbook, which presents 75 signature recipes from his three-star Michelin restaurant as well as 12 simpler regional French recipes. In a middle section entitled "Iconic Sessions," author and editor Bill Buford (Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany) recounts working with Boulud to prepare extreme French classics such as canard à la presse (pressed duck) and poulet en vessie (chicken cooked in a pork bladder). VERDICT Only serious foodies and professionals should attempt Boulud's exacting recipes, but many readers will enjoy his and Buford's essays, which reveal the creativity and skill that distinguish the world's best chefs.