Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert , by Eric Ripert, $34.95, Hardcover (Wiley)
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I have put off writing this review for almost a month now. Out of fear. The minute I received this book, I was mesmerized. The "culinary journey" begins with a foreword by Anthony Bourdain. In the beginning, one may possibly assume that this is going to be another mediocre book thrown together and sold based on a name. Far from it.
The book takes you from the kitchen of Le Bernardin, to Love Apple Farm in California, to Tomales Bay, Tuscany, Caymen Islands, and back again. With the journey comes over 100 recipes ranging from seaweed to beef tartar, and everything in between. The recipes and the trip that you are taken on is proof of how, and why, Chef Ripert has managed to maintain a four star review for over 20 years.
About the Book:
In my initial opinion, the recipes were geared to a middle or advanced cook. I felt lost. In hind sight, it is geared to everyone, including beginners....I just felt insecure about cooking some of the dishes. The mix of the recipes is fantastic. Drinks, seafood, beef, salads, etc. Most people cook only 5-10 recipes from any given cookbook. This one is a "full cooker". I have tagged an additional 30 or so, after the 3 I cooked for this review. The only drawback, and I use that term loosely, is that a handful of ingredients may not be easy to find in some areas. Not impossible; just not easy.
The photography gives you the feeling that you are looking through a personal vacation album. Chef Ripert is smiling in every picture and it is certainly not a wonder why. There is food, wine, ocean, boats, bonfires, cigars, oils, cheeses, and culture. The most important is culture. The photography completely grasps the culture of the journeys.
My favorite is the "Family Meal at Le Bernardin". Its a simple photo of the tradition of the family meal time at Le Bernardin. Between prep and dinner service the staff shares a meal together. Something to admire.
Considering the Holidays are knocking on our door, I would highly suggest this as a gift. This is a book that will be cherished by any cook. Mine hasn't left my kitchen since the day I got it.
So again, as I stated in a previous post, Thank you Chef Ripert. You have summoned the confidence in me. And thank you for allowing a peek into your "strangely enchanted world".
More about Avec Eric - [...]
My dabble into two of the recipes ~ Turned out phenomenal and one that will be prepared numerous times in the future.
Check out City Harvest - working to bring together New York's top chefs and restaurateurs to raise funds and increase the quality and quantity of food donations to New York's neediest.
"He's one of the world's best chefs." ~ Anthony Bourdain
Yes he is.