Le Gavroche Cookbook – Michel Roux Jr

03 October 2001 by
Le Gavroche Cookbook – Michel Roux Jr
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Le Gavroche Cookbook is truly a great book. To be able to get one's hands on recipes from such an important British kitchen is reason alone for buying it. In it, Michel Roux Jnr has compiled fantastic recipes from his term as head chef at Le Gavroche, as well as recalling some old favourites from the restaurant's 33 years as one of London's most celebrated dining rooms. The book is proudly classically French-based but, surprisingly, I found a delicious lightness in many of the recipes. > We also learn about the history of the restaurant. I particularly liked the mention of Michel's mother, Monique, tripping off to France two or three times a week to pick up various goodies to put on the menu in the gourmet food-deprived London of the 1960s. Michel writes that almost all of the recipes detailed in the book should be relatively easy for a confident cook. "Relatively easy" can be interpreted in different ways. The recipes themselves do make complete sense if you already know how to cook. But, to me, a few seemed a little vague. It might help to know exactly how long, for example, to steam the lobster in spinach on p230. Should it be nine or 11 minutes? Will two minutes too long ruin the dish? The home cook with little experience may find the process hard work, but ultimately worth the effort. Readers of *Caterer* should find it a breeze. The recipes use ingredients such as foie gras, partridge, gulls' eggs and turbot. My mouth watered at the thought of many of the dishes, organised in seasonal chapters, every one of them destined to stand the test of time, just as the restaurant itself has. The opening recipes for canapés and petits fours get you in the mood for what follows. Having attempted unsuccessfully to source monkfish liver since receiving the book, I can't comment on that particular dish - but the Roquefort shortbread was great. The final chapter, on stocks, sauces and pastries, is excellent, answering even a novice's basic queries in a straightforward manner. In between, you have a vast array of dishes that, quite simply, just seem to work. And there are wine tips for each meal. The photography, by Jean Cazals, presents the food with a contemporary slant, which is really refreshing and appealing. This handsome book gives us a glimpse into one of Britain's most influential kitchens as well as sharing with us some of its finest recipes. Peter Gordon, joint chef-proprietor, Providores, London Le Gavroche Cookbook - Michel Roux Jr. Cassell & Co £25. ISBN 0-304-35573-9
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