This entrancing and serious book offers both the personal cooking of a Michelin two-starred chef and that of his native land, a region famous for a distinctive cuisine, perched between the influences of France and Germany.
Raised in a family that included a butcher, a pastry chef, and the chef-owner of a country inn that hosted heads of state, Gabriel Kreuther trained under the rigorous French apprentice system and worked in several regionally important restaurants before coming to the US, where he distinguished himself at Jean-Georges, and then at the helm of Ritz-Carlton Atelier on Central Park, at the Modern at the Museum of Modern Art, and finally at his eponymous restaurant across from Bryant Park.
The Spirit of Alsace vividly captures the traditional foods of that land, as well as the way the chef draws inspiration from it for his personal cuisine. Abundant sidenotes and recipe headers take the time to explain ingredient choices and how adaptations have been made. This is a book in which "On Nutmeg" is not an ironic headline and which happily presents humble peasant food a few pages from modern fine dining cuisine.
Among the dishes that caught our eye: beer and gruyere croquettes; savory kougelhopf with chive sour cream; buckwheat spaetzle with tuna paillard and seared foie gras; chorizo-crusted cod with white bean puree.
A welcome deep dive.
Hardcover. Color photographs.