OP: Astrance a Cook's Book
Editions du Chêne, 2012. Two paperback volumes in slipcase. Near Fine.
Respect for the chef as a craftsman has long been acknowledged, but in modern times, recognition of the chef as a creative figure has lent new status to an ancient profession. For many of the most accomplished, the ultimate emblem of their having arrived is the publication of a large, spectacular album presenting and celebrating their work.
Pascal Barbot (1972– ) has reached his personal summit on two scores. First, his Michelin 3-starred restaurant L’Astrance is one of the most in-demand dining establishments in Paris today; and, second, he has gotten his book.
It is an impressive statement—two luxurious volumes in a striking slipcase—a show-stopper in itself. The first volume presents the dishes themselves, devoting as much space to Barbot’s comments on his thinking and on the underlying creative process as it does to the actual recipes; the text is punctuated by dazzling hyper-real photographs of the food.
The second, smaller volume, also heavily illustrated, deals with the kitchen work itself—the techniques and procedures involved in producing the food. Although some have suggested that such lavish productions are little more than publishing monuments, Astrance is a highly successful book, genuinely useful for Barbot’s professional colleagues, a magnificent souvenir for those who have dined from his kitchen, and a valued example of what is an enduring genre. Ours is the 2012 English edition, the two paperback volumes Fine in a Very Good, lightly bumped, slipcase.