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Gordon Ramsay - Three Star Chef


TheSwede
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I received this book for christmas, having made some hints before. It is a monster book in coffe table format documenting the dishes in his three star flagship resturant in Royal Hospital Road, London. This is not "Gordon cooks at home" or something similar. This is a hardcore book that presents and explain the actual dishes served at the resturant.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Recipes-Star-Chef-...99651590&sr=8-3

(Note to editor: please feel free to eGullet-ize the link and/or add link to US Amazon)

It only costs GBP 20, which is amazingly low considering the production values.

The first half of the book is just photos of the various dishes and comments about them from (presumably) the man himself. The second half is the actual recipes. The presentation/photos of the dishes are absolutely stunning. Many of the dishes looks like work of art, especially in the pastry/desserts section. The recipes (at least some of them) actually looks doable, surprisingly enough.

Only a very foolish or very experienced amateur cook would attempt to recreate an entire menu in a home kitchen, but borrowing a single dish (especially a main course) is definitely doable if you have reasonable experience and some time to devote. The recipes are very well written and some though has definitely gone into making them possible to execute in a home kitchen (no sous vide machinery...). My usual approach when attempting fine dining cooking is to simplify, like pair the protein and sauce in one dish with the (simpler) starch from somewhere else and/or remove some of the garnishes. This would work well with this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fine dining. Either just as a documentation of dishes from one of the worlds top resturants or to actually try to cook from.

Yesterdays Financial Times had an article where one of their writers tried to execute an entire three course menu from the book. To summarize, the main course was on the table three hours late, but the results were stunning.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2d21f2b0-ba6b-11...?nclick_check=1

Note: I haven't yet tried any of the recipes (but I'm definitely eyeing that foie gras filled pidgeon breast roulade with confited pigeon legs...) and I like fine dining cook books, mostly for inspiration, sometimes for actual cooking.

Edited by TheSwede (log)
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I got Three Star Chef for Christmas as well. :smile: This was the Gordon Ramsay book that I've been waiting for him to do, and it was worth the wait.

The recipes (at least some of them) actually looks doable, surprisingly enough.

If you look on the credits page at the back, down the bottom, he's made a comment that the recipes were tested to make sure that they could be done in a domestic kitchen.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I got Three Star Chef for Christmas as well.  :smile:  This was the Gordon Ramsay book that I've been waiting for him to do, and it was worth the wait.
The recipes (at least some of them) actually looks doable, surprisingly enough.

If you look on the credits page at the back, down the bottom, he's made a comment that the recipes were tested to make sure that they could be done in a domestic kitchen.

I'm happy to read all this. I just ordered the book from Amazon.co.uk last night. I've been obsessed with this guy, for whatever reason. Been watching everything I can on BBC America. Can't wait to get it.

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I ordered this book from Amazon.uk when it first came out and I must say it is very very nice. The recipes are all fantastic unlike some of his earlier books. I tried the chilled tomato consomme with asparagus, peas, tomato concasse and basil and it was incredible. Additionally I tried the slow-braised pork belly in maderia sauce, made a few short cuts but it was also unbelievable.

great work Gordon!

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Let's not get carried away here.

The positive is that the recipes are very true to the restaurant. Some of the entrees as described are almost spot on dishes I've had a RHR. In that respect its an interesting attempt to document the effort behind a *** restaurant without shortcuts (reminds me of the horrendously convulated preparations in the Charlie Trotter books).

The downside is the horrendously corporate tone, which also unfortunately somewhat echoes the RHR experience. The first half of the book (lovely photos by the way) reads like a corporate brochure ghost written by a somewhat anonymous uk food journalist (errr, it is actually). What grates is the hagiographic style. The neophyte reading this would come away with the impression GR is gods gift to cookery. He's good, but he'd not that good.

Overall the book feels a lot like GR @RHR has become nowadays - an establishment which has undoubtedly high production values, but has become increasingly corporate at the expense of creativity and personality. This is a book which could have been written by a committee*.

That's not to say it doesn't have its merits, but if you want a better feel for GR the chef rather than GR the corporate machine check out some of the earlier books, particularly when he was writing with Roz Denney (I recommend Passion for Flavour and Chef for all Seasons).

J

ps forgot to add there aren't actually that many recipes either. about 45-50. compare the alain ducasse grand livre recently reissued at the same 40 quid rrp which has around 500 *** recipes!!!

* errr actually looking at the credits on p256 I think it was! have just realised this is the first cookbook I've ever read which has a Publishing Director, a Creative Director, a Project Editor, two Recipe Research & Testing staff, a Photographer, TWO food stylists (one of them admittedly the head chef at Claridges) and two production staff. Plus an anonymouse UK food journalist to ghost write the first half.

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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...

The downside is the horrendously corporate tone, which also unfortunately somewhat echoes the RHR experience. The first half of the book (lovely photos by the way) reads like a corporate brochure ghost written by a somewhat anonymous uk food journalist (errr, it is actually). What grates is the hagiographic style. The neophyte reading this would come away with the impression GR is gods gift to cookery. He's good, but he'd not that good.

..

I've got flashbacks to Marco Pierre Whites comments in White Heat. With the difference that those presumably were from MPW himself.

To be honest, I didn't really take any notice of the PR speak when I looked through it first - I was too busy flipping between the photographs and the recipes.

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I did think it was laying it on a bit thick when the anon writer intimates that GR was responsible for the idea of adding salt to caramel.... Werhers original anyone?

Yeah i agree, i actually just saw this book very recently and decided to flip through it. I respect GR a lot but im not sure if some of the things in there are factual like the part where they were talking about taking things from the savory side of the kitchen and utilizing it in the pastry kitchen. Was GR really the founder of such an innovation? I'm not really sure of that. And the whole adding salt to caramel thing. Its still a great book but hmm.... :hmmm: GREAT PHOTOS though!

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  • 2 months later...

I had hoped for a book like this from GR for some time. I agree, lovely photos, great food. However when I saw the griddled asparagus dish I was thrown, surely this can never have been served in this manner. It looks so prehistoric.

When I got to the end and read;

"recipes..... have been adapted and carefully tested for the domestic kitchen. Never the less many of the recipes are still challenging and demand skill and precision on the part of the home cook." which seemed typical of the GR public personsa- patronising.

I sure did not buy a book like this for advice on what to do with my own rubbish stove, I would like to know what they do at theirs.

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I sure did not buy a book like this for advice on what to do with my own rubbish stove, I would like to know what they do at theirs.

Then there would be as many or more people grumbling that they just bought a $$$ book full of recipes they'll never do. There are more people (which = more money) on the "make those fancy recipes so that I can do them after work on a tuesday" side of the fence.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 1 month later...

I actually own it--it has been out in the UK for a while and I imported it. It's a good book...a little "fluffy" but it does a good job of representing the dishes. Pictures are beautiful, the bits about the restaurant are insightful as well. I would recommend it.

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I came across it on sale last week and gave it serious thought, borrowed it from the library to give it a closer look, but in the end decided not to buy it. I value books like my copy of the French Laundry cookbook for their stories and insights into the search for cooking perfection. You'll rarely see a complete TFL recipe on my dinner table, but it has nonetheless changed the way I cook and think about cooking.

As a book about Gordon Ramsay at RHR, it's a fun read (if not a bit corporate, as others have mentioned). The pictures are beautiful and the commentary is often interesting. As a manual to emulate a RHR experience, it's sound. The recipes are clear and well-written, and nothing seems out of the league of an experienced amateur with some spare time on their hands. I don't normally have a sweet tooth, but if I could have bought just the desserts section I would have.

As a cookbook though, 3 Star Chef feels less accesible than say, TFL cookbook. I loved that Ruhlman and Keller in writing TFL explained why things were done a certain way, but there's less of this in 3 Star Chef. Though the learning curve is steep, TFL explains to a passionate home cook how they can transform their cooking to the highest level, and why they would want to. It is amazing food from (generally) a fairly humble starting point. 3 Star Chef describes how to do it, but it reads more like instruction than teaching. Cooking from TFL cookbook has taught me a lot about the principles of excellent cooking as well as the recipes themselves; 3 Star Chef teaches you how to cook Gordon Ramsay's food. An exception to this is the appendix, where basic techniques are explained well.

It may be unfair of me -- I have owned TFL cookbook for a year and only looked through 3 Star Chef for a few hours. Perhaps TFL cookbook got in first with the same kind of foundation that 3 Star Chef might have given me, but I doubt it. 3 Star Chef isn't TFL cookbook, it is as advertised: recipes from a 3 star chef.

Don't interpret this as a negative review, I've tried to judge the book from a few different angles. As a book about RHR and a collection of 3-Star recipes it is extremely good. If you have access to the ingredients you'll have a lot of fun and make your guests feel very satisfied. However if you're wanting to learn a lot and get into the mindset of a chef of this calibre, I'd recommend other books such as Thomas Keller's The French Laundry cookbook.

As an aside I followed Jon Tseng's recommendation and borrowed Ramsay's Chef for All Seasons, and I love it. Obviously a different type of cookbook to 3 Star Chef ("1 Star recipes from a 3 Star Chef"?) but a great one nonetheless.

Dr. Zoidberg: Goose liver? Fish eggs? Where's the goose? Where's the fish?

Elzar: Hey, that's what rich people eat. The garbage parts of the food.

My blog: The second pancake

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