cover image The French Laundry, Per Se

The French Laundry, Per Se

Thomas Keller. Artisan, $75 (400p) ISBN 978-1-57965-849-6

Chef and restaurateur Keller delivers an inspirational and elaborate take on the culinary collaboration between his Michelin-starred restaurants the French Laundry, of Yountville, Calif., and Per Se, of New York City. United by a culinary credo that puts guests first and uses only the finest ingredients, the restaurants’ staffs collaborated on the 70 recipes showcased here, which highlight Keller’s technique-driven “small focused courses.” Canapés include variations on the signature cornet, a savory salmon-filled tuile cone; first courses feature a summer corn parfait and a healthy variety of salads; and a section on vegetables offers an innovative celery root pastrami and an assortment of pickles. Roasted rack of venison and Japanese-inspired sea snails are standouts among the meat and fish dishes, while a treacle tart topped with rosemary-scented yogurt, and anise-flavored pear soup are artful desserts. The recipes are complex and demand precision, and will challenge even the most ambitious home cooks. Indeed, every elegant page projects Keller’s high standard of “perfect culinary execution.” An essay by Corey Chow, a chef on Keller’s team, sums it up nicely: “What it’s really about is respect. Respect for ingredients. Respect for technique.” Though more aspirational than practical, this superb work is as much philosophical treatise as gorgeous cookbook. (Oct.)