In his first book, ‘Cuisine Minceur,’ Guérard introduced the concept of nouvelle cuisine, of which he was a progenitor. This follow-up is a sort of antidote, revelling in recipes that “don’t stint on time, butter or trouble,” as Caroline Conran puts it in her intro (there’s no shortage of cream or foie gras). The recipes are nonetheless elegant, in keeping with classic French style.
Michel Guérard has been accused, along with the Troisgros Frères, of ruining French cuisine with his initiation of the Nouvelle Cuisine. However a study of this book of his signature dishes will show that what he actually did was to clear out the attic of classic French cooking and the basement as well. He lightened and reinvigorated the stocks and sauces, he concentrated on fresh ingredients, he advocated simplicity and he had fun; his recipes are never outlandish, always balanced and refined. As a young apprentice he, like all commis chefs, suffered from harsh discipline. As soon as he had his own restaurant, he banished the hidden chef in a dark basement, and encouraged, as he describes in the book, camaraderie, respect, laughter and creativity in the kitchen.
Baker and food writer
The excellent Americanisation — by Paris-based culinary historians Phillip and Mary Hyman — of famed chef Michel Guérard’s Cuisine Gourmande (1979) did two things to inspired cooks. Firstly it taught them, perhaps not so admirably, to polish their dinner plates and arrange small portions of food into patterns, so you can point the blame-finger here. But much more importantly, Guérard showed everyone – from chefs to home cooks – that grand food could light and delicate, that vegetables and broths could be considered remarkable and breathtaking. I see his influence everywhere, without him this fresh aspect in modern chef menus would not exist today
Author and editor
This was the door opener for people like me and for many others to come. Many recipes are still commonplace in top level cooking like the sauce vierge and chicken with vinegar. For technical erudition his diet book Minceur is probably a better primer for learning to cook, but this book has the vision and charm and was credited, perhaps wrongly, with launching la nouvelle cuisine. At last a professional cooking without cream, butter, and flour or even much in the way of stock.
Food Editor, The World of Fine Wine and co-founder and convenor of the London Gastronomy Seminars
This - together with the Caroline Conran translation into English - exactly captures thrilling modernity of the 1970s generation of nouvelle cuisine. It still feels fresh, even when so many of the ideas have entered the vernacular.
Founder of La Fromagerie in London
For those who want to explore the depths of fine cooking from a master whose recipes require time and concentration.
Writer, trainer, former chef and restaurateur
A generous collection. An essential that could teach you more than three years at culinary school.
Proprietor Green Park Brasserie, Bath Function Rooms, Green Park Express
Director Bibendum Wine
Head Chef of The Ledbury
Executive Chef Patron, Quo Vadis, Soho