Born in the Midi-Pyrenees region of southern France, Yves Thuriès (1938– ) began his pastry career as an apprentice at the age of 14. Rigorously trained, he was in due course awarded the exceedingly scarce title of Compagnon du Tour de France—membership in a brotherhood of artisans that had been in existence since the Middle Ages. He purchased his first pastry shop in 1968, and in 1976 was the first chef to win the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in two categories—frozen desserts and confectionery—in the same year.
Thuriès proceeded to open chocolate shops on four continents. He also operated two restaurants in France—Le Grand Écuyer, a fine hotel restaurant and the bistro, Hostellerie du Vieux Cordes, both located in Occitanie. Along the way he published an 11 volume encyclopedia of high-end French cookery and an eponymous magazine, among others. He is easily regarded as one of the most influential pastry chefs of the 1970s and ‘80s along with Gaston Lenôtre.
We are pleased to be able to offer here, in English, Thuriès’ trilogy of professional pastry cookbooks titled The Classic and Contemporary Recipes of Yves Thuriès. The three volumes bearing the subtitles, French Pastry, Restaurant Pastries and Desserts, and Modern French Pastry, were published in 1996 by Van Nostrand Reinhold. The quantity of recipes contained within the volumes are a testament to Thuriès’ body of work and commitment to the French culinary tradition.
Thuriès appears to leave no classic confection, pastry, or composed dish out of his recipe collection, but there are plenty of surprises, even to those well-versed in traditional pastry dishes and techniques. The recipes are well supported by color photography and detailed cross-section illustrations for those desserts requiring elaborate assembly. Measurements are by weight, listed in both metric and imperial.
All three volumes are in very good condition. The dust jackets on these large (10.5” x 10.5”) books are frequently damaged and have been removed. However, with handsome black cloth cases and the titles on the spines embossed in gold, they are strikingly elegant on any shelf.
Each book bears the blind ownership stamp of a previous owner and very light evidence of staining on the half title pages; otherwise, the interiors are clean and unmarked. All come with the ribbon markers intact, although in one volume, the ribbon has begun to fray. These remain invaluable resources for professional pastry chefs.