Book review – Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking

22 June 2012 by
Book review – Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking

Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking
By Andoni Luis Aduriz
Phaidon, £35
ISBN: 978 0 7148 6363 4

Being an avid collector of cookbooks, I was very excited to hear that Andoni Luis Aduriz was bringing out a cookbook in English, all about his amazing restaurant Mugaritz.

I have long been an admirer of Andoni, and I was lucky enough to meet him at Madrid Fusion in 2008. I was impressed by the simplicity of his presentation. Andoni and his team presented the now famous dehydrated salsify, which he peeled, blanched and then used Mexican lime powder to form a second skin, which when dried looked like a piece of fossilised bark. I was amazed by this - there was so much attention to detail in one piece of vegetable.

Phaidon seems to have taken on the mantle of publishing the great chefs of the world, with Ferran Adrià, Rene Redzepi, Andoni and the soon-to-be published Fäviken restaurant in Järpen, Sweden.

I really like the look and feel of this book. It is well put together and suitable not only for professional chefs but also for the serious home gourmet. It is also sensibly priced.

The story of Andoni's work at Mugaritz serves as an inspiration to us all. It really hits home the fact that cooking at this level is a lifelong pursuit and what might take someone 10 years could take someone else 25 years. Andoni has showed total dedication to his long-held dream of building a Basque restaurant using only local ingredients, and he showcases them in a different way to anyone else in the world right now. Food of this level and creativity has to be individual.

In the introduction he talks about the fire at Mugaritz, which nearly destroyed his dream and how he reached out for help from his staff to rebuild what is the current reincarnation of the restaurant. It takes a very strong belief from your inner self to pick up the pieces and start again in this way.

The recipes in this book are not for the faint-hearted. Although they look simple they are extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive, but the finished results are spectacular. The food photography is absolutely beautiful and makes you want to try to create every dish. I really like the kitchen shots too, which are mostly black and white.

This is a book about a restaurant that is creating history and about a chef who has a very big future ahead of him. It is a must-have if you are serious about your cooking.
By Jason Atherton

If you like this, you'll love these:
Marque: A Culinary Adventure Mark Best
Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine Rene Redzepi
Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook
Daniel Humm and Will Guidara

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