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oferl

Recs for newer "modern cooking" chef's cookbooks

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I've decided to treat myself with several new cookbooks for birthday :-) There are so many great books from chefs with their michelin reastaurants in last couple of years, unfortunately i'm not able to take a "real look" at any to decide what realy suits me or not, but recs i read here in the past about interesting books, always led to really worthy and great purchases.. Like the Uchi cookbook, really brought inspiration and very good recipes, also several other good ones...

I'm looking for the combination of "eye candy" but also a lot of very good recipes, processes and flavors that will not be the easiest at home, but still doable and if not, very inspirational :-) Please books with no heavy use of "ëxtreme" tools like centrifuge or rotovap, and really concentrating on the food and many recipes - i respect a lot the stories and "chefs philosophy", but not interested to read them in cookbooks, prefare inspiration through cooking :-)

 

i marked several options and will be glad to get more info on them and on others.. First book i really want is the last Yucatan related release, altough not sure it will truly be doable with the special ingridients, but subject is fascinating. 

The Manresa book, i have the feeling it concentrates a lot about the food.. Clueless about Ben Shewry's Origin, Peter Gilmore's Quay and Organum, Bentley from Brent Savage, in pursuit of excellence by Joshia Citrin, Brifard's :e Cinq book and the list can go on and on, many candidates..

Will be glad to get help and ideas for the really special books you like in this direction, thanks !

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Flour and Water is a great book about pasta and dishes that contain it. Many good recipes.

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Eleven Madison Park, Ink, Ludobites are three interesting "modern" cookbooks which all have different angles how the chefs approach their style of cooking. The Alinea might go beyond what yiu interested if you cook complete dishes but it might give a lit of inspirations even if you are using only part of the dishes.

The Ideas in Food cookbooks are not chef cookbooks but they are interesting to think about how to cook in term of techniques and combinations


Edited by Honkman (log)

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I interpret Modern to be more about technique and flavor combinations than calendar year, and I hear you loud and clear on the crazy equipment, so here are some of my favorites.

 

North - may be too regional, but still a really good useable book

Chapter One - my current favorite; Irish; modern, unique

Volt Ink. - go old school 

Coi - classic

Manressa - classic

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef - a bit techno

Marque - a bit too techno, but great

Dabbous - avoid

Fluidita - if you have the bankroll

Too Many Chiefs Only one Indian - love this book, but very expensive

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Thanks for the great ideas :-) I will learn more about flour and water, me and flour is not a great love affair, but it might be a very cool present for a pasta fanatic friend..

I have a "shared library" with a couple of friends, and EMP, Heston, Keller's books are "accessible".. Alinea i also think one of the friends has, thanks for reminding me to check :-) 

gfron1 thanks for raising several options i didn't know about, i now want Fluidita so much :-) With the lower euro rate, maybe i find a good option to import it, around 150 eu still very very expensive :-( Same for Sat Baines's book, sounds like a lot of fun, what is the cooking style there ? I guess Indian in title is a little misleading..

I checked archives in the past, was aware of probably yours or others mentions of Chapter One and Marque, checked around at amazon uk and abe, found i think better prices now at amazon for those titles, so "pulled the trigger" on chapter one and north :-) Very happy and excited for that.. Abe showed "reasonable" and quite tempting prices on Marque and Ludobites, so went for them also, along with another old book from Paula Wolfert, love her old books..  

Waiting with Yucatan and Manresa, and i must stop there i think, altough with the serious c.a.s i have, i doubt it will last for long :-) Will be very happy for any other recs and opinion on such books, thanks a lot !


Edited by oferl (log)

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Another vote for Flour and Water.  The pasta is simply amazing.  The dough is so luxurious with the use of egg yolks.  Once made and rested it is one of the easiest doughs I have worked with.  It is rich but if you are going to go to all that trouble of making pasta it seems worthwhile.

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tonnes of good options out there. When I use a cookbook I use it for either inspiration or a component. I only cook my own recipes now and love designing my own recipes and dishes. For some dishes, I'll look to cookbooks for flavour pairing inspiration and component recipes. This is the way I use cookbooks - so my opinions may not be as useful as someone who wants to recreate the dishes verbatim. 

 

The peter Gilmore books are very interesting, the food is stunning and there's nothing "too techno". His philosophy is based around local and quality ingredients so there is rarely anything too "out there". The dishes are very laborious though, and have many components. I have used some of the components in many of my self-designed dishes and they always work. I would get Quay before I got organum. Organum is focused entirely on the Australian producers of the ingredients he uses (think NOMA like stories about each of them) so it may be difficult to recreate some of the dishes. Quay on the other hand is more easily adaptable to other regions and their ingredients. 
FWIW - Gilmore uses a few asian inspired flavours in some of his dishes - so if that's really not your thing, maybe look elsewhere first. (but its only some of the dishes)

 

If you like asian flavours - specifically Japanese and Korean - that have been adapted to create modern dishes - Get Sepia. It's really amazing. Really. 
I just opened to a random page now and got - “SCARLET PRAWNS WITH SHELLFISH JELLY, WHITE CUCUMBER, CRÈME FRAICHE, TEMPURA BATTER AND MATCHA TEA OIL”

 

I recently acquired RELAE. This is more of a think piece than a recipe book. Really inspiring though with fantastic ideas of how to construct dishes that reflects what I guess would be considered the "nordic" food style.

 

NOMA is good, many of the dishes are really not that tricky at all - thus they rely on interesting ingredients that are impossible to source. A good read though and although I am not sure where you are located, if you come from a country rich in local suppliers and a variety of indigenous ingredients, then this book and organum (Gilmore) would be very inspiring.

 

Bentley is good too. Nothing too techno at all, apart from some SV and hydrocolloids - which I suspect you'd already have if your interested in modern cooking. The dishes are less complex than those in Quay or Sepia with far fewer elements. It's a good gateway book.

 

Alinea is a masterpiece. The flavour combinations, the elements, its really stunning. Ok, so you might not make all 8 components of a dish. But the ideas you get and some of the components can be utilised in many other dishes.

 

Under pressure is really SV orientated (who'd of thought?) but contains a few modern dishes. Like the French Laundry, it is really more a case of using classical flavour combinations like you'd find in Escoffier and jazzing them up with SV or other techniques. It's not that they're not tasty recipes - I'm sure they are - they just don't excite or inspire (me, at least).

 

EMP is great. Lots of recipes, lots of good flavour combos. Pretty and all the recipes are straight forward and nothing too outlandish with flavours or proceedures. 

 

Fat duck is more like Alinea but with a more classical 'flavour spectrum'. The notes on food science are also worth a read at the back of the book. I've "stolen" a few components from here, but for me, Alinea is more interesting.

 

But, TBH, these all pale in comparison to one book - El Bulli

 

FWIW my next purchase is the Yannick Alleno book - not the $1500 one, but the recipe one that's written in french. I think his cooking is really amazing - Just ask MM, he uses his dishes a lot. And I can practise my French.

 

I think it is interesting that a lot of these books are Australian - Makes me proud. 

 

Finally, I think it really depends on what flavours you like and what you'll use the cookbook for:

 

For a more classical spectrum : The Fat Duck, the Keller Books, EMP are great 
For a more Modern (think more international) spectrum : Alinea, Quay, Bentley, and Manresa

For ingredient based cooking : Organum and NOMA

For a good read - Relae

For Asian (japanese) inspired modern cooking : Sepia

 

Sorry for the long post.

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All good suggestions.

 

I'd also support Martin Benn's new book "Sepia," as well as Pascal Barbot's "Astrance A Cook's Book," "Le Strato Courchevel," the Roca Brothers "El Celler de Can Roca," and Ben Shewry's "Origin" to the list.

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Hello Mendel C-k, you just made my early morning hours, coming weekend and what left of the month of Februery :-) No problem, i forgive you for the lengthy message "-)

I was curious and been reading about Martin Benn in the past, i think it was after a message in this forum "warning" the upcoming book. Asian is probably the "base of my home kitchen", no weekend session will start without having a good dashi stock in hand, plus a range of great and interesting asian condiments, so i guess it might be a great book for me. It was on top of my lists, but i think i've read some not so great initial reviews over the different amazons, altough no deep and "true" investigation yet. This along with doing the "look inside" and not seeing any food related pages, just about the chef and his restaurant, left me with nothing solid to rely on.. Now your amazing post changes the game, will have to recheck my list and do some more work in checking.

I've just got El Bulli 1994-1997 as present from my crazy wife, last year it was excalibur dehydrator, i really like her. Which book are you reffering to ? Or to all of them in general ? Some new ones i think are out, i tend not to buy >50 any reasonable main currency  books, also those are always very heavy books with significant shipping costs, so don't know, but sure those are always very very tempting.. 

I for sure get also mainly inspiration, just for opening and flipping pages, reading ingridient lists, "tasting" some of the techniques, so never trying to really replicate a whole dish.

Unfortunately never been to Australia, but according to rumours, with the level of produce and sea/land offerings you guys there have access to, no wonder there are so many leading chefs  from there nowdays, and great also to see even the produced tv food shows, i and my foodie friends enjoy them a lot, so "thanks" "-) It seems that great books in general coming out in last years - i got the book from the Gelato Messina guys, a really mighty fine effort in the ice cream front books, very much recommended for anyone who works a lot with an ice cream machine at home and even has business related aspiration.. For the price it was offered on book depository, another australian gem for sure.

I think Quay, Manresa and Sepia will be an amazing addition to the library, even if i take out Yucatan from the equation for now, waiting for any of them to become cheaper as second hand, i think will take ages. And what do you mean by ask MM, regarding Alenno ?

 

And thanks Nickrey with reminding me of Barbot and the Rocca Bros. and making me more confused "-) I will have to read over the net much more about what available as "hints" for those.. Indeed so many great options..

 

Thanks a lot again for the great info and help !!


Edited by oferl (log)

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To make it even more confusing, Anne-Sophie Pic's "Le Livre Blanc" is also a fantastic cookbook.

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Vouch for Sat Bains' book. I also really like Manresa. The most recent book by Rene Redzepi is also really cool, particularly the journal.

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Hello Mendel C-k, you just made my early morning hours, coming weekend and what left of the month of Februery :-) No problem, i forgive you for the lengthy message "-)

I was curious and been reading about Martin Benn in the past, i think it was after a message in this forum "warning" the upcoming book. Asian is probably the "base of my home kitchen", no weekend session will start without having a good dashi stock in hand, plus a range of great and interesting asian condiments, so i guess it might be a great book for me. It was on top of my lists, but i think i've read some not so great initial reviews over the different amazons, altough no deep and "true" investigation yet. This along with doing the "look inside" and not seeing any food related pages, just about the chef and his restaurant, left me with nothing solid to rely on.. Now your amazing post changes the game, will have to recheck my list and do some more work in checking.

I've just got El Bulli 1994-1997 as present from my crazy wife, last year it was excalibur dehydrator, i really like her. Which book are you reffering to ? Or to all of them in general ? Some new ones i think are out, i tend not to buy >50 any reasonable main currency  books, also those are always very heavy books with significant shipping costs, so don't know, but sure those are always very very tempting.. 

I for sure get also mainly inspiration, just for opening and flipping pages, reading ingridient lists, "tasting" some of the techniques, so never trying to really replicate a whole dish.

Unfortunately never been to Australia, but according to rumours, with the level of produce and sea/land offerings you guys there have access to, no wonder there are so many leading chefs  from there nowdays, and great also to see even the produced tv food shows, i and my foodie friends enjoy them a lot, so "thanks" "-) It seems that great books in general coming out in last years - i got the book from the Gelato Messina guys, a really mighty fine effort in the ice cream front books, very much recommended for anyone who works a lot with an ice cream machine at home and even has business related aspiration.. For the price it was offered on book depository, another australian gem for sure.

I think Quay, Manresa and Sepia will be an amazing addition to the library, even if i take out Yucatan from the equation for now, waiting for any of them to become cheaper as second hand, i think will take ages. And what do you mean by ask MM, regarding Alenno ?

 

And thanks Nickrey with reminding me of Barbot and the Rocca Bros. and making me more confused "-) I will have to read over the net much more about what available as "hints" for those.. Indeed so many great options..

 

Thanks a lot again for the great info and help !!

Hi,

Glad I could be of help.

Yeah, if you've got a dash stock on hand, then you'd probably like sepia - Quay too for that matter at there's a few asian inspired dishes in there.

What do you think of Elbulli? I have access to all the books and really must say they are an inspiration....but at $800 probably not the best use of ones hard earned.

I haven't seen the Gelato Messina guys book, but I'm sure it's a nice piece. They're shop(s) are always packed. If you're an ice-cream guy I'd recommend 'Ice-Cream without Secrets' by Corvitto, it used to be available free online and I'm sure you'd be able to track it down.

 

"Faviken" and (I think it's called) "J" by Joachim Wissler should also be put on the list of to buy - they are certainly on mine.

 

Sorry, I should have seen your post count before I made a reference like this. MM... (I can't remember his username) is a private chef named Max. (I'm pretty sure he used to post here). He uses Alleno recipes a lot. Here's photo stream of some of his reproductions of Alleno dishes: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjCY1ZVf

 

Anyway the Alleno book is my next purchase, but it'll have to be in french as the English version is 1500 EUR (I know, WTF)

 

 

 

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Noriyuki Hamada--Restaurant Yukawatan is an amazing book from a japanese/french chef that did well at the last Bocuse d'Or. Beautiful photography and nice articles from the Masui/Haughton dream team. 

 

YAM--Yannick Alleno Magazine is a nifty little humanitarian project that makes his recipes accessible without forking over 100 or so euros for Ma Cuisine Francaise, or more for Quatre Saisons and 101 Creations if you can even find them. 

 

I think many would be better served by stepping back and checking out the re-releases of the Ducasse and Robuchon Grand Livres as well. 

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All good suggestions.

 

I'd also support Martin Benn's new book "Sepia," as well as Pascal Barbot's "Astrance A Cook's Book," "Le Strato Courchevel," the Roca Brothers "El Celler de Can Roca," and Ben Shewry's "Origin" to the list.

I bought Sepia based on your comment and really like it both for content and design. So, thanks!

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Books arrived, it's like a triple christmas in march "-) Brief first impression to whoever might be interested - so happy with Manresa and especially Sepia,

so much interesting combinations and "small condiments" creation ideas to incorporate in home cooking, many many thanks for the insight on Sepia,  

this one was out of my list in the past, wasn't sure, but it so much goes in the Japanese directions i try to incorporate in last years at home, one hack of an amazing book, shrimps shells powder, how the hell me and my dehydrator didn't think about it till now ?! Different soy brands in recepies, that is serious stuff :-)

Manresa also, must jump into it soon, very interesting dishes, and a lot of them, it also seems like a very "approachable" book, nothing really too crazy, and that is great.

Quay and Organum, looked mainly into the second one, and not too seriously yet, a bit hard to "digest" the quite minimalistic artistic style, but i'm sure i will find also interesting small things to take from it, on the artistic side, organic is probably a real work of art, amazing looking book, but im not so good at deciding that "-) 

North looks intersting also, not a "fancy" book as the others, but some promising ideas that i will have to check and try.

Marque and Ludobites, didnt open yet, got to spend too much time with Sepia "-) Btw got also Frozen Desserts by Migoya, stunning book, not sure yet about his ice cream recepies, have to check more seriously..

And to the long named user that mentioned Noriyuki Hamada's book - thank you very much for adding another book that will hunt me forever until i buy it :-) That looks and sounds like a another great book to have, especially regarding the Japanese direction.. 


Edited by oferl (log)

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Brief first impression to whoever might be interested - so happy with Manresa

I just got the Manresa cookbook -- it looks great indeed. Many original ideas for garden produce. Curiously the first recipe starts of with green tomatoes, due to the season I have quite a few of them now. This weekend will give me the opportunity to experiment a bit!

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A year and too much money spent on books later :-) Answers here turned home library upside down, and i'm having great time getting influence from "more then a few" of the books people mentioned. 

The urge is strong again, and i wonder about two books that i didn't purchase yet and actually have some connection (Chihiro Masui..) - Pascal Barbot's cookbook and Noriyuki Hamada's Yukawatan, would be glad

to get more info on the content and which of them might be more of a cooking influence/useful ideas, and not just amazing pictures. 

Also any other "newer" revealations from past year that were not mentioned in this thread and can cause me more financial damage, please do brong them on "-)

Oh and some more questions if it's ok, in a "lighter" manner. thinking about Baneras from Atul K., as a good candidate for inspirational modern indian..

Purchased EMP which is very nice (altough by mistake ordered used in a langauge i don't speak..), did not get Alinea yet, which causes some sleeping problems so i guess it should also stay strong on the radar.

And any other books that might concentrate on "flavor extract" and interesting "quite accessible" tools and ideas, like ones heavy on use of the food dehydrator, which i do have and find as a REAL must today in my kitchen.      

Thanks a lot :-)

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I have a lot of cookbooks (1456 according to Eat Your Books, which doesn't list all of my books) and it takes a lot for a book to stand out for me.

 

One such book was Dominique Crenn's "Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste." Check it out, I think you'll like it.

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Thanks nickrey, I forgot about this book, there seems to be now a kindle promo, and from few small elements like a promising carrot sorbet that seems much like my base sorbet receipe directions, it is for sure a book i should own,

thanks a lot.  

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Some time has passed and i'm here again, on the hunt for recent modern books.. Would love getting more ideas from your recent purchases of really impressive chefs/restaurants books.. 

I loved everything i bought in past years - Alinea (amazing book), EMP (very nice, second chapter is out..), Sepia and Atlier Crenn (also great books), Pascal Barbot's L'astrance in French, a very interesting book and cooking style for sure, 

WD-50 purchased recently seems also like a fun book with many things to try.. Have a "birthday budget" of around 200-300$ for one or several outstanding books and would be grateful again to read recent thoughts like the great ones i got in past years, thanks !  


Edited by oferl (log)

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Some names, without re-reading the thread:

 

Joan Roca, Josep Roca, Jordi Roca - "El Celler de Can Roca"

just put this as your top priority, I have the first edition, this is the reissue which is much cheapier and seems smaller (first edition had poor quality paper, bad printing and binding, so you did not miss much on that)

 

Daniel Patterson - "Coi: Stories and Recipes"

this is probably the best read across the top restaurant books, Patterson is a great writer and is totally open on explaining what's behind each dish

 

David Kinch - "Manresa: An Edible Reflection"

 

this book exudes passion from start to finish, great dishes and great reading

 

Sat Bains - "Too Many Cowboys, Only One Indian"

this is pricey since it's not released by a big publisher, so it went under the radar of the aficionados... a pity, it's simply beautiful, from the dishes to how it's printed

 

Peter Gilmore - "Quay: food inspired by nature"

I would say this is the best book from the Australian bunch, so if you liked Sepia you should go with this

 

Ben Shewry - "Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry"

this is my second preferred from the Aussies, the book is really huge (a thing I like), some really inventive stuff, for example desserts are far from being technical but they are really personal - now it's listed for crazy prices on Amazon, weird, I bought it for 30 euro when it was released few years ago

 

Mark Best - "Marque: A Culinary Adventure"

another top Australian, now it's closed for good, I prefer Quay and Origin but this one deserves too


James Viles - "Biota: Gather, Grow, Cook. Redefining Regional Australian Food"

this book went totally unnoticed, it's a good addition to the Aussie bunch

 

Anne-Sophie Pic - "Le Livre Blanc"

not as great as the Astrance, worth the money

 

Paul Liebrandt - "To the Bone"

this is a memoir with recipes, great read and great dishes, get it NOW: 4.97$ is a steal

 

David Everitt-Matthias - "Essence: recipes from le champignon sauvage"

David Everitt-Matthias - "Dessert"

David Everitt-Matthias - "Beyond Essence: New Recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage"

another British restaurant that deserves much more attention, the Dessert book is top class, a perfect example on what you can do if you are not a super technical pastry chef but have balls (aka inventiveness and personality)


 

Most of these are under 40$, so you should be able to get 5-7 books.

Avoid the Alex Atala and Frantzén + Lindeberg, wasted money.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo thanks a lot for the list, i've ordered now Liebrandt's book and El Celler i really want for a long time, price indeed low on this edition..

I have Manresa, Peter Gilmore's books and Marque, really like the last one and didn't look enough into the others.. Wish i could find Origin 

by Ben Shwery at a decent price but unfortunately didn't pull the triger yers ago when it was pretty cheap.. Baines's book really interesting, indeed pretty 

high price.. wasn't sure about the Coi book but it sounds like i should have it, so i think i will order Roca's and Coi book as a start :-) 

Thanks for your post, enjoyed reading it !


Edited by oferl (log)

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