Bras: The Tastes of Aubrac
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The first full-fledged cookbook in more than twenty years from Le Suquet, the restaurant founded by the renowned chef Michel Bras and now led by his son, Sebastien.
Unsurprisingly, given the restaurant's fame for its attention to garden bounty, this book is arranged seasonally, and each season is accorded a significant color: white for winter, green for spring, etc.
Photos of the beautifully plated food appear opposite carefully written recipes, which often recommend local varieties of produce, such as the Institut de Beauvais potatoes called for in "white soup with aged free-range bacon, roasted shallot and grilled hazelnuts." Fortunately, headnotes explain what makes these varieties so suitable, allowing cooks to seek out equivalents in their own regions.
The presentations of the dishes are often strikingly artistic, elevating what might seem to be a simple dish into something fascinating: even a seemingly plain onion tart resembles a still life, decorated with fresh herbs, peapods, and marigold leaves.
Narrative passages throughout the book shed light on the creative processes at the restaurant. In contrast to the crisply specific recipes, these strive for poetical moments they do not always fully achieve, though they surely provide insight into the way that the Bras chefs think about cuisine.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout. In English.