cover image Cook it Raw

Cook it Raw

Editors of Phaidon. Phaidon, $49.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0714865492

In 2009, Alessandro Porcelli invited a dozen of the world's most creative and innovative chefs to Copenhagen for what would evolve into a yearly event. Cook It Raw was part chef congress, part competition, and something else entirely: a cadre of the most inventive chefs arriving at a remote destination and left to their own devices. They forage for their ingredients, prepare them in less-than-ideal locations, and present them for critique by their peers; all without the presence of cameras, patrons, or audiences. Here, Porcelli looks back on the past four Cook It Raw events, detailing the ingredients, the chefs, their processes (to an extent), and the end result. It's a stunning collection; commentary for each event (Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Japan) is provided by an attendee to give context, but the real story is in the dishes themselves, presented in vibrant, crisp photographs. Though it's highly unlikely that readers will be able to prepare, let alone source the rare ingredients, each dish is broken down at the end of the chapter, giving a sense of each dish's taste and chef's intent. Whether one considers this innovation or pretension, it remains a terrific study of an original event readers will likely never have the opportunity to experience themselves. (June)