Bouchon by Thomas Keller

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Thomas Keller

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Thomas Keller, author of The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, Under Pressure, Ad Hoc at Home, and Bouchon Bakery, has eleven restaurants and bakeries in the United States. His two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants, The French Laundry and per se, continue to vie for best restaurant in America and for ranking among the top five eateries in the world. He has been honored with innumerable awards, from an honorary doctorate to outstanding restaurateur to chef of the year (for successive years). Sebastien Rouxel, co-author with Thomas Keller of Bouchon Bakery, oversees all aspects of the pastry department for Bouchon Bakery, The French Laundry, and per se. In 2005, he was named a "Rising Star" by StarChefs magazine. In 2006 and again in 2008, Pastry Art & Design magazine declared him one of the "Top Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America."
 
Published November 15, 2004 by Artisan. 360 pages
Genres: Cooking. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bouchon

The New York Times

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Is Bouchon Bakery good for the Time Warner Center, an exceptional bakery and a viable choice for lunch in the neighborhood?

Apr 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

The New York Times

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Most of the current season’s cookbooks are heavily influenced, in visual style and in content, by the relentless advance of food television.

Nov 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

Publishers Weekly

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Especially bistro food, Keller says, which retains the "spirit of the original bistro, the spirit of embracing you...

Oct 25 2004 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

Publishers Weekly

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In his newest patisserie manifesto, Keller (Ad Hoc at Home) successfully takes on the world of artisan baking.

Aug 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

Los Angeles Times

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From the avalanche of attention Thomas Keller has been getting for Bouchon, you'd almost think the arrival of the new Beverly Hills restaurant was the second coming.

Jan 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

USA Today

Serious cooks and those serious about sophisticated bistro food will drool over this coffee-table tome.

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New York Magazine

Soups, salads, and sandwiches make up the bulk of the menu, all familiar to anyone who’s visited Keller’s Bouchon branches in Yountville and Las Vegas, or thumbed through the high-gloss pages of his Bouchon cookbook, where the chef-philosopher waxes eloquent on topics as portentous as puff pastry...

Apr 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

Serious Eats

We won't sell or share it with anyone.

Dec 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Bouchon

Reader Rating for Bouchon
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