Wild Food from Land and Sea (Ebury Great Cooks)

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9780091814151: Wild Food from Land and Sea (Ebury Great Cooks)

Marco Pierre White has risen to be a firm figure in the world of "haute cuisine". Since he opened "Harvey's" restaurant in south-west London in 1987, he has become the most talked-about cook in Britain, the youngest man ever to win the coveted third Michelin "rosette", and almost equally renowned for the upheavals in his private life. In 1992, he opened "The Canteen" in Chelsea Harbour, and in autumn 1993 opened "The Restaurant" in Knightsbridge, which have one and three stars respectively in the Michelin ratings. Yet behind the hype, this text reveals there is a professional, dedicated chef of great talent. His mastery is based on the solid foundations of French classical cuisine, but it is informed by a modern feeling for the importance of ingredients of the highest quality and freshness, by a receptivity to influences around the world, by simplicity and profound originality. Above all, the book aims to make accessible the secrets of his success to all amateur cooks, and contains tips based on his incomparable feeling for the potential in natural foods from land and sea.

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Review:

Fascinating though it is, Wild Food from Land and Sea is a book that, in all probability, is not likely to send many readers racing to the kitchen. A collection of Marco Pierre White's restaurant recipes, it is more likely to be valued as a glimpse into the intensive, highly disciplined kitchens in which White's supremely refined food is conjured. Indeed, he says as much in his introduction, remarking that it amazes him that people buy books by professional chefs, the gulf between what is possible in a restaurant and a domestic kitchen being so vast. One might as well try (the comparison is not White's) to build a Ferrari in a garden shed. That this book assumes on the one hand the resources of a fully equipped and staffed kitchen, and on the other an intimate familiarity with the traditions of classic grand French cooking, is signalled by the presence of no fewer than 77 Basic Recipes, which are incorporated into the main dishes as sauces or garnishes. Quite a number of these basics are themselves built round others, such as the rich "Sauce Albufera", a confection of stock, cream and foie gras butter that finds its way into a number of dishes. In a way, to publish his restaurant recipes in their working form is a testament to White confidence and boldness. Here, he might be saying, are my "secrets"; take them if you want them. You'll find that the recipe, like a musical score, is merely the beginning. Like its companion volumes in Ebury's series of utilitarian paperback reprints, Wild Food from Land and Sea is challenging: stripped of any seduction of design or photograph, nothing survives but the recipes. But what recipes. "Panache of John Dory and Grilled Sea Scallop, Etuvee of Leeks, Sauce Lie de Vin"; "Bresse Pigeon, Braised Cabbage, Mushroom Ravioli and Thyme Juice"; "Creme Brulee, Pommes Sec, Jus de Granny Smith": Exquisite. --Robin Davidson

Review:

"Marco Pierre White is the most exciting chef working in London today" (The Times)

"His book is as brilliant as his cooking. I'd like to cook everything in it" (Robert Carrier)

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