“The real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy. That’s what cooking is all about”. So says Thomas Keller early on in the book for his legendary Napa Valley restaurant. The book reveals a deep appreciation for ingredients and introduces those who inspire him - meet the “Pittsburgh Lamber” and the “Mushroom Lady” and try delights such as Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Beluga Caviar. “Respect for food is a respect for life” he says.
Thomas Keller, chef/proprieter of the French Laundry in the Napa Valley – "the most exciting place to eat in the United States," wrote Ruth Reichl in The New York Times – 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 sautes 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 monte 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."
The French Laundry restaurant is a culinary benchmark recorded forever in this sacred book. A flawless must have made marvelous by the great technician and zen monk of cookery, Thomas Keller, the masterful food writer Michael Ruhlman and ground breaking photographer Deborah Jones. The detail, format and sheer style of this and Keller’s proceeding books set him apart from the tight pack at the top. This book presents one with some of the very best food devised, in such a way that much can be recreated with success in the home kitchen by a savvy cook. Buy it now.
Cofounder and CEO of Nomiku
An iconic book that in many ways is the quintessential fine dining restaurant book. Nothing that came before comes close to matching the way it truly encapsulates the spirit and ethos of a great restaurant at the height of its powers. Aside from being hugely influential on all restaurant books since, it features a parable in which Thomas Keller murdalizes a bunny rabbit, which is basically the best, weirdest thing ever.
I’ve been cooking as far back as I can remember. In 2000 my mum sent me a copy of this cookbook. It was everything I had always wanted in a cookbook. I think I’ve made every recipe in the book, some many times. The techniques I learned from The French Laundry have helped me to progress as a cook and inspired me to take many of my own recipes to the next level.
This book was very inspirational when trying to find my path for the ramen shop. Good cooking is paying attention to detail and if it's one thing Thomas Keller does it's pay attention to detail. And the story about the rabbits has never left me!
Writer, broadcaster and academic
I don't get the hang of people who complain about cookery books that are so complicated that the recipes are impossible to make at home. Isn't that the point? To teach us something we didn't know and might not be able to achieve, even if we do.
Co-founder of Roads & Kingdoms and author of Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture
The benchmark by which all other restaurant cookbooks shall forever be judged, filled with gorgeous photography, fantastic writing, and the kinds of deep kitchen thinking that will forever alter the way its readers cook.
Food stylist and food writer
An amazing insight into the very best of restaurant cooking, with some of the recipes surprisingly achievable at home (with patience and time). Wonderful for reference as well.
Chef and owner of The West House
I still love this book as much as the first time I saw it. It made me realise the importance of the produce above technique. so much more than just a coffee table book.
Chef/Owner Pok Pok Restaurants
My first glimpse into modern, super technique heavy recipes, and a the Deep Throat of cookbooks, kicking off food porn as we know it today.
Co-owner of ScandiKitchen
Okay, I rarely cook from it as the recipes take more time than allows a busy mother who runs her own business, but WOW its amazing.
The recipes turn precise technique into joyful expression, an approach that has come to drive more than fine dining cookbooks.
Chef and owner, Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
This book has inspired me throughout my career, way ahead of its time.
Executive Editor, Saturday Kitchen
The greatest chef in the world lays down his how he does it.
I love the honesty and attention to detail in this book.
Executive Chef and co-owner, The Atlantic Restaurant
Recommended by me...and everyone else it seems.
Founder of Creative about Cuisine
A book about absolute attention to detail.
Very well made, lovely idea, very French.
Chef/Owner The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, Trentina, Tavern Vinegar Co. Cleveland, OH
Truly the best modern American cookbook
Vice-principal of Silwood Cookery School
Cook and food writer
Chef and filmmaker
Chef and restaurateur
Host of Platypus (San Francisco pop-up)
ICC's Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts
Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Director of Sales, Sun Noodle
Owner and executive chef, DW Bistro
Chef and restaurateur
Chef and Owner, The Square
Executive chef, Duck & Waffle
Founder and principal of Straus Literary
Chef, restaurateur, food writer
Author and Blogger at Ideas in Food
Food columnist of LA Times
Kepos Street Kitchen & Kepos & Co
Food writer, stylist, and photographer
Chef and author
Executive Chef and Owner
Oenophile and Home Cook
Professor in the Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition
Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant and Bennelong
Master Chocolatier & Director, Paul A. Young fine chocolates
Founder of Imagine Food and author
Executive Chef of Sokyo and Kiyomi
Executive Chef, Mr. Wong, Ms G’s, Papi Chulo, El Loco
Executive chef and co-owner, Le Pigeon and Little Bird
Head Chef at James Street South, Belfast
Chef, restaurateur, author
Co-chef/owner of Toro NYC, Toro Boston, and Coppa
Executive Chef/Owner, Local Provisions
Owner and chef, Blakes Feast
Co-founder of ChefSteps and author
Chef and owner, The Star Inn at Harome
Chef, restaurant owner and partner