The Big Fat Duck Cookbook
So I pre-ordered this book about 6 months ago, received it from amazon when they got it (November) and Just finished it Couple Days Ago. I went through it slowly, its a massive book.
Where I'm Coming from as I talk about this book. I work in a restaurant and this type of cooking interests me playing with flavours in ways we would have never thought of because it isn't the "Traditional way" of doing them. Even using the post-modern cooking techniques (Grilling a steak is Science afterall) and ingredients of Hydrocolloid's (remember gelatin and corn starch are hydrocolloids). And of course just beautifully presented plates of food.
The book is broken up into three parts (with the index in the middle of the book). The first part is The history of Hesten, his restaurant and his journey. The 2nd Part are his recipes with little stories about each one. The Third (The most interesting) are the essays of studies from University Professors and people in different industries like the one on Perfume by the Perfume guy.
Also I should mention that they got this awesome artist to do all these drawings through the book Dave McKeanNow I must say I'm not a fan of his art style but in this Book IT WORKS!
When you read the book you definitely pick up on Hesten's personally, you get his ego(in a good way, which he does and he deserves the credit since he's rated as one of the top restaurants in the WORLD) his Advant Gardeness, but even his love of his country and their food. He is just very proud of his works and accomplishments and has a HUGE drive for perfection.
The 1st Part - The History is nicely written with crazy pictures in there, the stand outs for me is how much this guy loves cooking food and looking for ways to improve on them (The Scientist in Him). The biggest surprise to me was that he only worked in a restaurant for 4 weeks before he opened the fat duck (which he opened in his 30's if I'm not mistaken). So that just shows you how good he really is. B (A+ for Art Work)
The 2nd Part - The Recipes I think there are 30 of them with his iconic Nitro Scrambled Bacon and Eggs, Snail Portage and the likes. The Recipes are written as a Chef would write them for his staff except even more detail because working in a restaurant there really isn't "Details" its just this is the ingredients and rates or ratios. I haven't tried any of them yet to see if they do work but they look sound, might have to play around with ratios for my flavour profile but all in all A+
The 3rd Part - The Essays, are really what made me want to shell out 170 (reg 275) for this book. How the brain works with smells and taste the MRI scans they were using VERY VERY interesting. Really you just have to read it to understand it is hard to explain them all. A+
The Negatives - Now some people will see 5KG book with 500pages and think its to big then again its 275$ so not everyone is going to buy this anyways. Picking one of his dishes with the 10 to 20 different components makes it a daunting task for the home cook or even the restaurant guy who doesn't serve complicated food like this, even tho all the flavours are simple in reality. The other item people might not like is all the use of the "Food Additives" that you just dont normally find, Agar, Xanthu, Gellan and the works or the equipment Vacuum Oven, Roto Evaporator.
Where it belongs - Every Culinary school should have one of these in there library for their students anyone who loves to collect awesome cookbooks, and someone who seriously just loves awesome books in general.