OP: Astrance: Livre De Cuisine
Respect for the chef as an inspired practitioner of craft has long been acknowledged, but in modern times, recognition of the chef as a significant creative artist 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, 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, heavily illustrated, deals with the kitchen work—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 in his restaurant, and a valued example of what will most likely be an enduring genre. It remains a very much in-demand work.We offer here the French language first printing (2012). The smaller of the two paperback volumes is in Near Fine condition. The larger shows a spine frayed at the head and creased from having been held open. The slipcase is shelfworn with some cracks around the edges and also shows evidence of having been in a place of honor in the kitchen, bearing a food stain to the rear. Not a collector’s pristine copy, but certainly an excellent reference and one that has much life left to give.