Named a Best Book of 2020 by Publisher's Weekly
Named a Best Cookbook of 2020 by Amazon and Barnes & Noble
“Every elegant page projects Keller’s high standard of ‘perfect culinary execution’. . . . This superb work is as much philosophical treatise as gorgeous cookbook.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
Bound by a common philosophy, linked by live video, staffed by a cadre of inventive and skilled chefs, the kitchens of Thomas Keller’s celebrated restaurants—The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and per se, in New York City—are in a relationship unique in the world of fine dining. Ideas bounce back and forth in a dance of creativity, knowledge, innovation, and excellence. It’s a relationship that’s the very embodiment of collaboration, and of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And all of it is captured in The French Laundry, Per Se, with meticulously detailed recipes for 70 beloved dishes, including Smoked Sturgeon Rillettes on an Everything Bagel, “The Whole Bird,” Tomato Consommé, Celery Root Pastrami, Steak and Potatoes, Peaches ’n’ Cream.
Just reading these recipes is a master class in the state of the art of cooking today. We learn to use a dehydrator to intensify the flavor and texture of fruits and vegetables. To make the crunchiest coating with a cornstarch–egg white paste and potato flakes. To limit waste in the kitchen by fermenting vegetable trimmings for sauces with an unexpected depth of flavor. And that essential Keller trait, to take a classic and reinvent it: like the French onion soup, with a mushroom essence stock and garnish of braised beef cheeks and Comté mousse, or a classic crème brûlée reimagined as a rich, creamy ice cream with a crispy sugar tuile to mimic the caramelized coating.
Throughout, there are 40 recipes for the basics to elevate our home cooking. Some are old standbys, like the best versions of beurre manié and béchamel, others more unusual, including a ramen broth (aka the Super Stock) and a Blue-Ribbon Pickle.
And with its notes on technique, stories about farmers and purveyors, and revelatory essays from Thomas Keller—“The Lessons of a Dishwasher,” “Inspiration Versus Influence,” “Patience and Persistence”—The French Laundry, Per Se will change how young chefs, determined home cooks, and dedicated food lovers understand and approach their cooking.
Chef and restaurateur Keller delivers an inspirational and elaborate take on the culinary collaboration between his Michelin-starred restaurants the French Laundry, of Yountville, Calif., and Per Se, of New York City. United by a culinary credo that puts guests first and uses only the finest ingredients, the restaurants' staffs collaborated on the 70 recipes showcased here, which highlight Keller's technique-driven "small focused courses." Canap s include variations on the signature cornet, a savory salmon-filled tuile cone; first courses feature a summer corn parfait and a healthy variety of salads; and a section on vegetables offers an innovative celery root pastrami and an assortment of pickles. Roasted rack of venison and Japanese-inspired sea snails are standouts among the meat and fish dishes, while a treacle tart topped with rosemary-scented yogurt, and anise-flavored pear soup are artful desserts. The recipes are complex and demand precision, and will challenge even the most ambitious home cooks. Indeed, every elegant page projects Keller's high standard of "perfect culinary execution." An essay by Corey Chow, a chef on Keller's team, sums it up nicely: "What it's really about is respect. Respect for ingredients. Respect for technique." Though more aspirational than practical, this superb work is as much philosophical treatise as gorgeous cookbook.