Banctel’s career path took him through the kitchens of Christian Constant, Bernard Pacaud, and Alain Senderens before he opened his Restaurant Gabriel at La Reserve in 2015. The hotel is opulently furnished in a grand style and Banctel’s jewel box-like first book, elegantly bound and slipcased and sporting vibrant photography, suggests that the chef has found an elegant modern counterpoint to the antique mirrors and silk damasks.
Recipes are grouped into seven chapters with suggestively fanciful names (Volupté, Clarté, Antonymie) and even if the precise reason why a particular dish makes it into a certain chapter eludes us, the food itself is attention-grabbing. Pheasant quenelles with green lentils and black truffles; white asparagus with Breton sardines and apple; foie gras terrine with beet, hibiscus, and smoked eel. There is certainly a grand luxuriousness about the ingredients but there is nothing staid or fusty about Banctel’s presentation of them.
Hardcover. Slipcased. Color photographs throughout. In French.