French Leave, tie-in to the major TV series directed by Pat Llewellyn, who discovered Jamie Oliver and the Two Fat Ladies, follows two-star Michelin chef John Burton Race, his wife, six children and Labrador dog as they escape everyday life in London and head off to rural France to set up home for a year. This warm and witty book, filled with full-colour photographs, seasonally chronicles John Burton Race's return to his culinary roots and his adventures along the way. There are over 100 specially commissioned authentic French country recipes including Asparagus Hollandaise; Pommes Boulangeres; Roast Duck with Prunes and Wild Strawberry Shortcake. For those whose imagination is captured by the TV series or those who simply want to read about a wonderful year of escape in France and enjoy sensational food writing, French Leave will be without doubt, the perfect gift.
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The life of a Michelin-starred chef is undeniably a stressful one, and no doubt many pause from time to time in the frenzy of the kitchen or the worry of the office to ask themselves if it's really all worth it. John Burton Race, who had clocked up two stars, had such a moment. He saw the business side of a highly successful restaurant taking over and himself losing contact with what had drawn him into cooking in the first place--food and its preparation. Following this epiphany (one might call it a naked-lunch moment, when, as William Burroughs remarked, you really see what's on the end of your fork) he determined to return to his roots, take a sabbatical and write a book about the pleasures of good, simple food. French Leave is the result. French because Race ambitiously decided that France was the best place to conduct his research and accordingly took his entire family (wife, six children and, eventually, Labrador puppy) with him. French leave is both a cookbook and a narrative of the we-survived-a-year-in-rural-France type so popular since that leathery old bellwether Peter Mayle first showed the way. The recipes are excellent--good, plain, traditional French eating, arranged seasonally, with classics such as Cassoulet, Confit of Duck and Daube de Boeuf featuring. There's practically nothing here that you won't find in books stretching all the way back to Elizabeth David and beyond, but it's very useful to have such a collection curated by a skilled and enthusiastic chef. The narrative parts of the book are somewhat mixed: when Race is talking to food producers and cooks of the Aude, his chosen region in the south-west of the country, he is fascinating and clearly enthralled. These are people with a profound love and respect for food, and Race is good at communicating this and demonstrating why quality is important. It's less easy to see why he chose to include so much about his family--quarrels, grumpy love-sick teenagers, school plays and so on--who probably won't thank him. And strangely, there's no mention whatsoever of the television crew, who must have been around quite a lot filming for the accompanying series. -- Robin DavidsonReview:
"It's like The Waltons in the Aude - one of those warm-feeling families that you want to be part of." -- France Magazine
"a delicious read...this book will help you bring a touch of France to your table" -- Heat
"a gastronomic voyage...Besides musing on French and family life, this hardback is laced with classic French recipes" -- Time Out
"a luscious classic" -- South Wales Echo
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Book Description Ebury Press, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0091891116
Book Description Ebury Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091891116
Book Description Ebury Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110091891116