So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Cookbook of the day – Bouchon

9781579652395

Bouchon

by Thomas Keller

  • Publisher: Artisan
  • ISBN-10: 1579652395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579652395
  • This companion piece to Keller’s book The French Laundry Cookbook is even more beautiful than its predecessor. Using luminous silver-halide-esque black and white photos to supplement the nice narrow focal plane color photography of the first volume (this technique leaves only portion of the shot in focus and can leave both the foreground and the background out of focus for artistic effect), the look and feel of the book emphasizes the old world heritage of le bistro. Some of the shots beg to be hung in a tony art gallery.

    Named for a style of French bistro in Lyon,  Bouchon the restaurant creates a paradoxical theme of an upscale bistro. Bouchon the cookbook attempts to convey the mindset behind creating bistro cuisine without reducing it to a French version of a meat-and-three.

    As in The French Laundry Cookbook, Keller demands an attention to detail and outlines a lot of technical skills necessary to produce a quality product. From his observation that you must discard any “irregular” pomme frites before cooking because they won’t cook evenly (and there’s a photo of the fries in the traditional European paper cone nestled in a hammered metal stand), to his avoidance of the cliché (outlining several skate dishes without talking about the traditional bistro dish of skate and mashed potatoes – instead he does skate with Lyonnaise potatoes), you’ll find dishes as simple as glazed pearl onions (oignons grelots glacés) and as complicated as pork trotters (pork feet) with máche and sauce gribiche (pieds de cochon et máche, sauce gribiche).

    The principles that bind two restaurants as diverse as The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon are an emphasis on fresh and local ingredients, an attention to detail and a passion for and a knowledge of the style of cuisine that’s being attempted.

    Owning both of these books will move you into a new dimension of cooking, and it’s a great yin to Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook’s yang. You should own both, which you know if you’ve followed my previous cookbook highlights.

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