One of the first things a person may notice about this book is the praise the chef-author receives from his contemporaries. "Arguably the greatest living chef," writes Charlie Trotter "Finally, an English language compilation of recipes from one of the greatest chefs of the past century," says Daniel Boulud "He is the king of chefs on this planet," states Joà«l Robuchon in his heartfelt introduction. These are some of the most famous chefs of our time and they claim this man-their peer-an inspiration.
Frédy Girardet owned the highly acclaimed restaurant that bore his name in Lausanne, Switzerland from 1982 to 1996. In 1990 he was crowned Chef of the Century by Gault Milllau, and his restaurant was the first Swiss restaurant to ever earn three Michelin Stars. Then, at the height of his career, he sold the restaurant and went into semiretirement. This is the second book the chef has written. The first, La Cuisine Spontanée (Spontaneous Cooking), was published almost twenty years prior.
This book, I believe, is geared towards the home cook, but the recipes are not the type a home cook would prepare everyday. While some recipes are seemingly simple to prepare despite their extravagant sounding titles, such as Cream of Asparagus with Truffles and Crayfish Tails, I'm not so sure that the average home cook is going to have 28 live red clawed crayfish and 1½ ounces of fresh black truffles lying around. Other recipes, such as Baby Squid Cannelloni with Artichokes, Asparagus, and Saffron Cream, which contains 31 ingredients, could seemingly baffle the home cook without professional training. None-the-less, the recipes are well written and somewhat simple to follow.
On the other hand, this is a beautifully arranged book. The photographs are stunning. They are so crisp and clear and mouthwatering they make you want to make these recipes. The picture on page 27, for example, of Breton Lobster with Asparagus Tips and Vin Santo Vinaigrette, is so vivid and colorful it could be framed.
Not surprisingly, the chapters are arranged like a menu from a classic French restaurant: cold appetizers, hot appetizers, fish, shellfish, poultry, meats, variety meats, cold desserts, and hot desserts. There's also a last chapter, which-as its title implies-offers basic recipes, many of which are foundations to specific recipes throughout the book. Many of these basic recipes, such as the variety of stock recipes, pasta dough recipes, and pastry recipes, could be useful in everyday cooking, whether used towards the recipes in this book or not, and most are simple to prepare.
The recipes in this book are said to be culled from those served at the chef's famed restaurant. Never having had the opportunity to eat at the restaurant I can only assume by the recipes and pictures in this book that the food must have been exquisite. But now, thanks to Girardet, Recipes From A Master of French Cuisine, the food can be prepared at home, albeit with some thought and planning.
If you're an ambitious cook, professional or not, this book will be a true inspiration. It's the type of book that you can cook from, or simply look (and drool) at the stunning pictures. Girardet, Recipes From A Master of French Cuisine will be a welcomed addition to any serious cook's library, and it'll look great on your coffee table, too.