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Grand Diplome Cooking Course

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
An unexpected Christmas gift this year was a complete 20 volume set of the Grand Diplome Cooking Course books. These are like never used, and appear to be from about 1971-2 time frame put out by Danbury Press. A friend got them from an estate sale for about $5. I've seen them used on eBay for about $60.

Anybody know anything about these? Are they any good? Appear to have been put together by a couple of women chefs from Le Cordon Bleu newsletters I read somewhere.


post #2 of 18

Grande Diplome Cooking Course

Way to go, doc!! :bounce: I found the first book of the series at a garage sale this summer and love the fact that there are wonderful pictures and lots of useful information along with some really great sounding recipes. I had a great time going through the volume I have although I haven't really tried anything yet. I hope you enjoy them.


[QUOTE=deltadoc]An unexpected Christmas gift this year was a complete 20 volume set of the Grand Diplome Cooking Course books. [/quote=deltadoc]
post #3 of 18

The heavy Grande Diplome

Among 12 boxes of cookbooks I own these weigh the most. The content is very nicely laid out so that it progresses from one subject to the next in a very sensory kind of way. It's a characteristic of cookbooks from this period of time. There are a few details missing in the technical aspects . However it is well compensated by the excellence in technical writing and the completeness of the series. Even with 3 or 4 volumes missing you have your hands full. I don't want to ever give mine up. I love everything elegant and intelligent.
post #4 of 18
These are books by Anne Willan and I believe they were used in her cooking school, La Varenne.
post #5 of 18

You are so lucky to have received such a gift.  This set is discontinued, and it can be hard to find.  Even the eBay price of $60 is a good deal.  I've had this cookbook set since the 1970's when it was first published, and it is a treasure.  Start out by browsing Volume 20, which is the index and glossary.  Just that volume alone is worth its weight in gold! 


In volume 17, pg 127, there is a wonderful recipe for a "Salmon and Cavier Checkerboard."  I've made this over and over, and it never misses in its WOW factor.  It is time-consuming and expensive to assemble, but well worth it for its appearance and taste.  I often used it as a centerpiece.


If you're looking for a particular sauce, or you want some ideas for a sauce, look on page 50 of the Index; there is a full page of different sauces to choose from.  When I visited Paris in 1979, I fell in love with the Beurre Blanc sauce used in fish dishes there.  You can find that recipe in volume 2, pg 52.


Are you looking for a particular technique or explanation of a cooking term?  You'll find it in Volume 20, starting on page 64.  The first entry? "Acidulate means to add an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar to a liquid."  Even if you never come across that term in a recipe, isn't it nice to know should you ever appear on Jeopardy?


Here's a tidbit about baking soda: Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) is made from soda and is sometimes used in place of baking powder.  In baking, it reacts with acid ingredients, such as sour milk to make breads and biscuits rise."


As I said at the beginning, you are lucky to have received such a gift.  Don't be afraid to use it.  Truly, it is a cooking course you may take in your own home.  You might find it fun to do as my husband and I did in the early '80's.  We invited friends to taste test our recipes with the caveat that they may not like everything we presented; in other words, they were our beta group.  It was a great time, and recipes from these volumes never missed.  Enjoy!



post #6 of 18

Congratulations on the Grand Diplome set. When I married, my husband brought the whole set with him! Now that you have them, start cooking! We have made many of the recipes and all that we tried were delicious. One in particular is fantastic... the Chicken Pot Pie with a veloute sauce. Our set is in storage (with every other book we own) until our home renovations are complete... I would love it if you (or anyone) could e-mail me the recipe. I put it in my computer recipe data base, but it seems to be missing some important information, and I figure that I just didn't transcribe the recipe accurately. Today I made a double recipe (in individual ramekins with a puff pastry crust, they freeze very well) and relied on memory. If you try it - be sure to chop the parsley well before trying to blend it - it is a pain afterwards!

post #7 of 18

Hi!  I just happened upon your thread for the Chicken Pot Pies with Veloute Sauce....I have a complete set of the Grand Diplome Cooking Course, however, mine are from 5 chefs of the early 70's....Serge Prat, Fernand Poisson, Brian Coterill, Voltaire Bortolotti and Theodore Linden.


I can look through the books and see if this recipe exists within them and send it to you if you wish.  I'm about to list them all on ebay as I'm not a cooking afficiando.  My Mom hails from Europe and she was an excellent cook and baker.  Her dishes were simply gorgeous - looked as beautiful as they tasted.  Those days are long gone, unfortunately.


LMK if you would like me to send you the recipe.  Sounds yummy!  Take care and hope your home renovations are complete!  Lin

post #8 of 18
I've been thinking about picking this set up, but it's listed all over the Internet under different authors - Anne Willan, Robert B. Clark, James A. Michener, L. G. G. Ramsey, and several others. Who actually wrote the set? Are different volumes written by different authors?

Also, I'm seeing sets of 20 and a few sets of 22. Are there additional volumes that may or may not be included with the set of 20?
Edited by morphone - 8/12/13 at 11:30am
post #9 of 18

I have the complete set of twenty-five....I believe the number of issues is just 25 - I've never been able to ascertain whether there were more. They are held in two hard plastic 'cases' that snap shut.


 In regards to the authors, I think there's a mix-up (which I, too, made the error of noting in an earlier reply)...the majority of the issues were developed and written by the three women.  However, in each issue they have topical stories of chefs with some notoriety.  That's where I made the mistake.  I just didn't pay attention.  I'll look in my volumes to see if it to be the same three women chefs who continue throughout all the volumes and I'll respond again. 


Sorry if I fed into the error....happy cooking!  Lin

post #10 of 18
Thanks, Lin! I didn't know there were 25+ total. What are volumes 23, 24, and 25 about?

Was this the equivalent of a Time Life book set, where people received one a month, or something to that effect? Can't find a lot of information online, which is weird.
post #11 of 18

Hello promised, the three females who apparently orchestrated these publications remained from Issue 1 thru 25. 


Issue 23:  Macedoine of Fruit; Quick Breads & Muffins; Home Freezers.  Well over 20 interesting recipes.


Issue 24:  Broth, Cream & Puree Soups; Cooking with  Apples & Pears.  Lots of recipes.


Issue 25:  Shrimps in Aspic; Choosing & Carving Meat; Sponge Cakes.  Lots of recipes.


All of the issues state at the top:  "Week by Week Learn to Cook the International Cordon Bleu Way." 


As for the method of purchase:  It states that subscriptions "cost $11.40 for 12 issues.  Back number were 95 cents each.  There was no charge for S&H.  That's laughable nowadays. 


I've found that there are more than 25!!!  There are a total of 6 of those hardcover (plastic) snap shut containers which hold 13 issues.  I would assume that there must be close to or 100 issues, I'll bet.  Now, where to find those!


Hope this helps....Lin


P.S.  Is the restaurant at the Top of the St Francis still serving the "California Experience"?  It was a multi-course meal accompanied by a different bottle of wine ... it was nothing short of

magnificent!  Just wondering if they were still there and had that offering.

post #12 of 18

Thanks! And wow, I had no idea there were so many volumes. It's surprising there's so little info on them online. I wonder why so many people have exactly 20 books, unless perhaps they sold the subscriptions in blocks and no one made it beyond the initial set? I'm very curious to find out what the deal is with all these additional volumes.


I don't think the St Francis does the California Experience anymore - I haven't heard of it in years, and a Google search turned up nothing recent. I might be in that area soon, though, in which case I can pop in and ask. :)

post #13 of 18

After some searching on the www and on Ebay.....there is a 20 volume set published in 1972 (!) by the Danbury Press.  They are hardcover and, you guessed it, Anne Wellan (spelling?) is the editor of those books, as well.  Puzzling.  The set is very cheap on ebay for the hardcovers.


As for the paperback issues I have?  There are several on Ebay that are numbered 72 and 67, etc. 


Sad that the 'Ca. Experience' may no longer exist.  It was pricey but well worth every bit - if I had no manners, I might have licked the plates.  You might want to pick up a hardcover set.  I'm not a professional cook, as you are, but all the pros seem to feel that these are 'priceless' and a necessary addition to your collection of cookbooks.  BTW...this is funny....I have the full set of those Tme Life cookbooks with the coordinating smaller books containing more recipes.  Funny you mentioned those.  (I have soooooo many cookbooks and hardly ever use them!)

post #14 of 18

Oh I had no idea there was a Time Life set. How is it? As much of a complete learning tool as the LCB set, or more for everyday dabblers?

post #15 of 18
Oh I starting to feel bad! About two years ago an older friend gave me this set of books, she was getting rid of them and wanted to gibe them to me just cause she knew I cook. I truthfully didn't want them, there were too many volumes that seemed to just touch on different subjects. Anywho, I took them, had the box of books just sit on the shelf and gather dust, and I just recently recycled them all of them! I would have happily gifted them to anyone here, but I'm afraid they are gone now. It was sort of neat looking at them, but I couldn't justify keeping all those books when I have other texts that cover the subjects more throughly.

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post #16 of 18
I need volume 8 of the grand diplome cooking course published in 1971 by Danbury press. I lent it to someone in the 80s who didn't return it and it was my favorite volume' I learned to cook by using these books as a young bride. one of the recipes was for neopolitan cod which we loved and can not duplicate. can you help?
post #17 of 18

Jennet--Are you in the US?


Inexpensive and easy to get if you are:


Even if you aren't it's still a bargain but you might pay a bit for shipping.

post #18 of 18

Hi, I am surprise that someone is talking about these books.  My mother bought me these books about 40 years ago, I have all the serie except I lost no. 22 which is the Index or all of the contents of each books.


Well may I say, I still use those books, fantastic books, I have done recipes in those books that I have never had in a posh restaurant.  Glad they are still in circulation in garage sale or whatnot.  If you can get them, well my friend jump on it as soon as possible.


Happy Cooking



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