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3.6 19
by Thomas Keller, Susie Heller (With), Michael Ruhlman (With), Deborah Jones (Photographer)

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Thomas Keller, chef/proprieter of Napa Valley's French Laundry, is passionate about bistro cooking. He believes fervently that the real art of cooking lies in elevating to excellence the simplest ingredients; that bistro cooking embodies at once a culinary ethos of generosity, economy, and simplicity; that the techniques at its foundation are profound, and the


Thomas Keller, chef/proprieter of Napa Valley's French Laundry, is passionate about bistro cooking. He believes fervently that the real art of cooking lies in elevating to excellence the simplest ingredients; that bistro cooking embodies at once a culinary ethos of generosity, economy, and simplicity; that the techniques at its foundation are profound, and the recipes at its heart have a powerful ability to nourish and please.

So enamored is he of this older, more casual type of cooking that he opened the restaurant Bouchon, right next door to the French Laundry, so he could satisfy a craving for a perfectly made quiche, or a gratinéed onion soup, or a simple but irresistible roasted chicken. Now Bouchon, the cookbook, embodies this cuisine in all its sublime simplicity.

But let's begin at the real beginning. For Keller, great cooking is all about the virtue of process and attention to detail. Even in the humblest dish, the extra thought is evident, which is why this food tastes so amazing: The onions for the onion soup are caramelized for five hours; lamb cheeks are used for the navarin; basic but essential refinements every step of the way make for the cleanest flavors, the brightest vegetables, the perfect balance—whether of fat to acid for a vinaigrette, of egg to liquid for a custard, of salt to meat for a duck confit.

Because versatility as a cook is achieved through learning foundations, Keller and Bouchon executive chef Jeff Cerciello illuminate all the key points of technique along the way: how a two-inch ring makes for a perfect quiche; how to recognize the right hazelnut brown for a brown butter sauce; how far to caramelize sugar for different uses.

But learning and refinement aside—oh those recipes! Steamed mussels with saffron, bourride, trout grenobloise with its parsley, lemon, and croutons; steak frites, beef bourguignon, chicken in the pot—all exquisitely crafted. And those immortal desserts: the tarte Tatin, the chocolate mousse, the lemon tart, the profiteroles with chocolate sauce. In Bouchon, you get to experience them in impeccably realized form.

This is a book to cherish, with its alluring mix of recipes and the author's knowledge, warmth, and wit: "I find this a hopeful time for the pig," says Keller about our yearning for the flavor that has been bred out of pork. So let your imagination transport you back to the burnished warmth of an old-fashioned French bistro, pull up a stool to the zinc bar or slide into a banquette, and treat yourself to truly great preparations that have not just withstood the vagaries of fashion, but have improved with time. Welcome to Bouchon.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It may be the best cookbook ever about bistros and bistro food."
—The New York Times
The New York Times
"It may be the best cookbook ever about bistros and bistro food."

—The New York Times

Korby Cummer
For this lavish account of the more straightforward brasserie he opened on the same street as his main restaurant in the Napa Valley, he has reunited many members of the same team that made The French Laundry Cookbook go back for multiple reprints (Susie Heller, Michael Ruhlman and Deborah Jones, with the addition of Jeffrey Cerciello, Bouchon's executive chef). Unlike the vast majority of chef's cookbooks, this one explains every step in clear detail, so nothing need be intimidating. And the scope of most of the recipes -- quiche made cloudlike by aerating the batter in a blender, roast chicken with a ragout of wild mushrooms -- is narrower than that of its predecessor. The book is also more relaxed.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Keller's restaurant Bouchon, in Napa Valley, Calif., is modeled after Parisian bistros and serves simple yet sumptuous fare. This graceful ode to bistro cooking emphasizes that although in America, "bistro" is synonymous with "casual," the food is prepared with "precision of technique brought to bear on ordinary ingredients." Close-up photos of signature dishes are alluring, and several action shots of food preparation may help readers refine their techniques. The book's sections progress from "First Impressions" (hors d'oeuvres and more) to "Anytime" dishes (soups, salads, quiches) to appetizers, entrees and desserts. Thoughtful introductions to each recipe grouping explain Keller's experiences with the featured dishes; sidebars on everything from oil to onions provide insight and useful tidbits. A "Basics" chapter attempts to further demystify the foundations of bistro cooking (it's built on staples like confit, stock and aioli), and a "Sources" section directs readers to bistro-appropriate tools and specialty foods. Of course, as any chef knows, food is as much about experience, memory and emotion as it is about flavor and presentation. Especially bistro food, Keller says, which retains the "spirit of the original bistro, the spirit of embracing you... restoring you and making you happy." This appealing book promises to do the same. Photos. (Dec. 1) Forecast: A $125,000 marketing budget and author tour could bring Bouchon success on par with Keller's previous book, The French Laundry Cookbook, which is now in its 18th printing. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Keller's Napa Valley, CA, restaurant French Laundry set a new standard for fine cuisine, and his companion cookbook, The French Laundry Cookbook, is considered a modern classic. Bouchon reflects Keller's more recent experience at his more casual bistro restaurant of the same name. Yet just because the prices are lower and the presentation is less elaborate, no less attention is paid to the food and its preparation. Keller has once again taken standard French dishes and shows, through attention to detail, technique, and quality ingredients, how easy it can be to prepare really delicious food. Classic preparations that can seem pedestrian when poorly made, like quiche or onion soup, are reinvigorated by Keller's "clean" techniques. His watchword, as always, is patience; some of the recipes are multiday affairs that will test the capabilities of many home chefs. But most are simple dishes, carefully seasoned; many improve when made ahead of time. Encouraging, thoughtful, informative, but never didactic, Keller trusts his audience with the art of cooking. Highly recommended.-Devon Thomas, Hass MS&L, Ann Arbor, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Thomas Keller Library Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.31(w) x 11.31(h) x 1.31(d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Cerciello has cooked with Thomas Keller for ten years, first at the French Laundry and since 1998 as executive chef of Bouchon in Yountville, California. Cerciello opened the second Bouchon in Las Vegas, at The Venetian Hotel-Resort-Casino, in spring 2004. He lives in Napa with his wife and two daughters.

Susie Heller, executive producer of PBS’s Chef Story, has produced award-winning television cooking series and co-authored numerous award-winning books, among them The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Bouchon by Thomas Keller and Jeffrey Cerciello. She lives in Napa, California.

Thomas Keller, author of THE FRENCH LAUNDRY COOKBOOK, BOUCHON, UNDER PRESSURE, AD HOC AT HOME, and BOUCHON BAKERY, has six restaurants and five bakeries in the United States. He is the first and only American chef to have two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants, the French Laundry and Per Se, both of which continue to rank among the best restaurants in America and the world. In 2011 he was designated a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, the first American male chef to be so honored. That same year, he launched Cup4Cup, the first gluten-free flour that replaces traditional all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour in any recipe, cup for cup, such that you’d never know the difference. As part of the ment’or BKB Foundation, established with chefs Jerome Bocuse and Daniel Boulud, Keller led Team USA to win silver at the 2015 Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France, which was the first time the United States has ever placed on the podium.

Deborah Jones's recent honors include Best Photography in a Cookbook from the James Beard Foundation for her work in Bouchon. A frequent contributor to national magazines, she conducts a parallel commercial career from her San Francisco studio.

Michael Ruhlman is the author of The Elements of Cooking, The Soul of a Chef, and The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, among others.

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Bouchon 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
readmehappy More than 1 year ago
Bouchon reminds me of all the new food I saw when my family visited Paris in the 90's. It unlocks the mystery of the dizzying dishes... and from the authors note keeps the form and content true to the origins of French bistros. I love this book's format and large size and even love reading the recipes learning so much from each page. (usually i just go for the ingredients and dive in glancing at boring instructions) But here in Bouchon the delicacies of cooking are interesting and personal. For people like me who don't have much time this was a nice reason to take a moment and read. : ) ps first book review ever.
jrkp More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon Bouchon Bakery on a trip to New York. I went there every day when I was there. I did not know it was a well-known restaurant. When I saw this book, I had to have it. The photos are lovely and the quality of the pages is very nice. It is an attractive book for the kitchen counter/shelf. Some of the recipes are complicated, but the details for preparation are complete. Good work, Thomas Keller. If only I could get pain de epi here in Houston!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Haute cuisine has been fractured for some time: ethnic versus American, nouvelle vesus classical, fun versus fancy. Too, there's the East Coast versus West Coast thing; are you a driven arrogant Type One 'I'm from the center of the universe' New Yorker or a laid-back, ex-hippie, lotus-eating, ex-dot-com'r Californian? Chef Keller, remember, is a little bit of both. His reputation was sealed with Napa's 'French Laundry', and the book from that restaurant (ghosted by Ruhlman) is undoubtedly the gold standard for superstar chef cookbooks. Before he went to California though, Keller apprenticed in the Hudson River Valley, and that's where, before France, before California, he learned about butchering, artisanal ingredients, offal, foie gras. His cooking is typically more than a bit Platonic or meditative, reaching for an essence or distillation, going far beyond the ordinary. Here though, thankfully, he's taking a step backwards, for the rest of us to catch up. His purpose is almost evangelical, to preach a gospel, that Good Food is not something 'special' or out-of-the-ordinary or reserved for holidays, but should be something enjoyed everyday as a matter of course. In the Lord's Prayer we are supposed to ask and give thanks for our daily bread. The point is that eating is universal to all people, and that everybody should eat so as to be happy and should pay attention to what they're putting in their mouths and how they're sustaining their very lives.
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Beautiful pictures and descriptions of each dish and the preparation steps. Not for a newbie, unless you are seriously into food. Requires more then the basic knowledge of cooking techniques and cooking equipment. If you want to make the perfect French Bistro food then this book is for you. This completes my set of what I consider the 3 great food countries......Italy, Spain and France. The only problem with this book is finding a space large enough to lay it open while preparing the dishes.
Bouchonfor2 More than 1 year ago
I was instantly captured by Bouchon's comfortable and practical approach to French cooking and by Keller's emphasis on manifesting the ingredients' potential sensibly over needlessly manipulating and torturing food. This chimes in well with my cultural and personal philosophy towards food. I decided to cook my way through Bouchon. So far, it's been challenging but it's a practical and rewarding experience for the home cook. Keller really breaks down the basics and fundamental techniques and I am learning a lot. Now I'm cooking my way through it. Watch my progress at http://www.bouchonfor2.com!
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