A lot can be read into the fact that In My Blood opens with a personality test designed by 20th-century author Marcel Proust and approaches the finale with a commentary transcript from legendary boxing bout the Rumble in the Jungle.
Bo Bech’s self-authored, edited and published guide to the food and philosophy of his Danish restaurant Geist is a bold, artistic and erratic dive into the processes of the chef.
Bech set up Geist in 2011, leaving behind his Michelin-starred restaurant, Paustian in Copenhagen, to create a personal dining experience that reflected his passion and eccentricity. In My Blood invites the reader to explore his staccato bursts of inspiration, from the first step towards building the restaurant – including draft names and goals for the site – to 100 of the plates he would go on to produce there. Alongside the food are a string of personal essays on both the kitchen at Geist and Bech’s personal philosophies, punctuated by free-form watercolour sketches from the book’s creative directors, All the Way to Paris.
It may be the curse of any restaurant in Copenhagen that it stands to be compared to Noma – Geist is 2.4km away from the former world number one restaurant – but Bech’s book serves as a much-needed counterweight to the precision of René Redzepi’s A Work in Progress, released in 2013. Redzepi’s is divided into three distinct and clear-cut books; Bech’s creation flows more like the rambling mind of an artist.
Separated into five pillars of his creative process, including ‘the Journey’, based on travel, and ‘the Rage’, based on anger and repeated failure, recipes range from the natural and untamed lamb heart with smoked red grapes and sorrel to the avant-garde paper-thin raw langoustine with yuzu and hibiscus.
Many elements of In My Blood may not have made the cut if they had passed through a major publishing house. However, Bech’s all-out control has created a guide to Geist that serves as a crash course in Scandi-chaos – a pure expression of the journey on which he has taken the restaurant and, in turn, its patrons.
In My Blood, by Bo Bech (£35)