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Le Champignon Sauvage


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Obviously there's a love affair on eG with LCS.

The book landed on my door yesterday.  It's good but not great.  Similar in style to Trotter's books and nowhere near as innovative and comprehensive as Keller's French Laundry.

But a welcome addition given some of my more recent purchases.

I think your critique is a little harsh. Like I said, I've not eaten there so I can't claim to be part of any eG LCS love in, but the book looks much better than many in that I at least 'think' I could attempt many of the dishes in there.

Perhaps that's a failing in my ambition or ability, or just a realistic assessment of a book for an reasonably skilled home cook?

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First post and I'm afraid I have to concur with Richard_D. LCS is a regular haunt of mine and to be quite honest his book is as stunning as his food and the whole LCS experience, but in paperback. Buy it. Today.

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I think David's unstinting dedication to his craft over 20 years makes a comparison to Alain Chapel unreasonable.

Better, worse, or typographical error?

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I think David's unstinting dedication to his craft over 20 years makes a comparison to Alain Chapel unreasonable.

Better, worse, or typographical error?

That should definately read "not unreasonable"! Unfortunately my 24 hour edit window has passed so I can't edit the original text. Thanks for picking up on that.

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I think your critique is a little harsh. Like I said, I've not eaten there so I can't claim to be part of any eG LCS love in, but the book looks much better than many in that I at least 'think' I could attempt many of the dishes in there.

Perhaps that's a failing in my ambition or ability, or just a realistic assessment of a book for an reasonably skilled home cook?

My critque is with the book, not the restaurant. Since my dinner parties involve 7 or 8 courses, and since I have about 100 cook books, I am looking for something new and/or additional. Why every book at this level of cooking insists on devoting pages to "basics" (such as veal stock) is beyond me. I'd much rather prefer a section on amuse bouche.

Hey ho, back to work.

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I think your critique is a little harsh. Like I said, I've not eaten there so I can't claim to be part of any eG LCS love in, but the book looks much better than many in that I at least 'think' I could attempt many of the dishes in there.

Perhaps that's a failing in my ambition or ability, or just a realistic assessment of a book for an reasonably skilled home cook?

My critque is with the book, not the restaurant. Since my dinner parties involve 7 or 8 courses, and since I have about 100 cook books, I am looking for something new and/or additional. Why every book at this level of cooking insists on devoting pages to "basics" (such as veal stock) is beyond me. I'd much rather prefer a section on amuse bouche.

Hey ho, back to work.

I get your point but i think the basic recipes in this book should be there. The stocks are very different in proportion to other cook book recipes, David says that he uses far fewer vegetables in relation to meat to obtain a purer flavour. He then sometimes uses purees to thicken the 'essences' when he requires more body in the liquid. This is quite unusual in kitchens and im sure it is very important to explain this when discussing the food there.

Edited by Matthew Tomkinson (log)

The quest for perfection will lead you to role models that will last you for life (Nico Ladenis)

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exactly, for chefs like D E-M stocks aren't a few veg thrown in a pan with some bones like us home cooks or rustic cookers like hugh F-W would advise, they are carefully thought out parts of the meal.

another example tony flinn doesn't put anything apart from bones in his stock and cooks it slowly overnight in a giant brat pan, as he logically says he wants it to taste of chicken (or whatever) not veg or herbs, they can be added later if required, and as for the common addition of tomato puree - why?!

you don't win friends with salad

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Too many things influence a stock/sauce for anyone reading a recipe to faithfully reproduce a restaurant version. Taken to the nth degree, why not suggest a particular supplier or breed of chickens.

Keller does not use celery in his chicken stock, and for the same reason that I don't: we are sensitive to the taste. But I don't need a chef to tell me about this. Besides, ther are books dedicated to stock/sauces, A Roux's being a particular favourite.

I'm not knocking DEM. Instead, I admire chefs that ply their trade and shun commercial limelight. I'm just saying the the book is good but not great. In this way I disagree with Andy. For me Keller's book is innovative and ground breaking and as such sets avery high bar.

White Heat is now very dated - but this merely shows just how far we've come.

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White Heat is now very dated - but this merely shows just how far we've come.

I couldn't disagree more. I think those recipes stand the test of time extremely well. I recently had the privilege to see a copy of one of the first hand-written menu's from Harvey's in 1987 and I wanted to eat everything on it. It seemed so modern that if I hadn't have known its derivation I would have said it was from a current London restaurant.

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another example tony flinn doesn't put anything apart from bones in his stock and cooks it slowly overnight in a giant brat pan, as he logically says he wants it to taste of chicken (or whatever) not veg or herbs, they can be added later if required, and as for the common addition of tomato puree - why?!

FYI John Campbell from Vineyard at Stockcross also says in his book he does stocks low and slo overnite. Tried it and it works fine - actually a much lower hassle way of doing it as don't need to vamp over the pot constantly skimming etc

Mark if you like the Roux book on Sauce you should try the James Petersons one. After all these years still one of the most insightful books I've read on this particular topic.

White Heat the style and layout and the macho "this is a dish for butch men not girls" etc comments were outdated almost before it was published. I agree the recipes still stand up well however. They have a welcome light touch.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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FYI John Campbell from Vineyard at Stockcross also says in his book he does stocks low and slo overnite.  Tried it and it works fine - actually a much lower hassle way of doing it as don't need to vamp over the pot constantly skimming etc

fyi, guess where tony used to work :laugh:

also with nathan outlaw, quite a brigade at the time, you can see them in the photos in the book, which is one of the more underrated books in my opinion. It made me want to head straight for the lords of the manor but unfortunately he was on his way to the vineyard virtually as soon as it was published.

you don't win friends with salad

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Sorry Andy, we'll have to agree to disagree. I think many of the recipes in WH (roast foie gras with Puy lentils and Peach Melba) are very dated. personally, I actually think White's Canteen bok is better. I've never used a single recipe from WH, whereas I use many from Ladinis.

Some of us are old enough to remember MPW's TV series on (I think) Channel 4. Each episode was devoted to one dish. Hence a whole episdode was devoted to Pig's Trotter Pierre Koffman. Great series.

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Sorry Andy, we'll have to agree to disagree.  I think many of the recipes in WH (roast foie gras with Puy lentils and Peach Melba) are very dated.  personally, I actually think White's Canteen bok is better.  I've never used a single recipe from WH, whereas I use many from Ladinis.

Good points. I'm in two minds on the lentil dish. On the one hand you could say its quite retro eighties cuisine grand-mere etc (cf robuchons book had a dish of hot foie gras with lentil cream I think). On the other hand if you saw it today it would actually still be quite novel as EVERYONE - SERVES - HOT - FOIE- GRAS - WITH - BLOODY - FRUIT nowadays (with honourable exception of bjorn van der whathisfaceandisheeveninhiskitchennowadays who does it with coffee and amaretto foam)

A agree the Canteen book is a keeper (but different from WH). Ironically - given how you don't like books which just rehash the basics - I always liked it for the excellent appendix with list of basic sauces, garnishes, preparations etc which provided a lot of good basic building blocks to mix and match!

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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In an attempt to get back from MPW to DEM... :biggrin:

My copy of Essence arrived from Amazon at 8.30 last night, so I haven't had that long to digest it, but at a first glance it is a great book. My dinner parties are several levels below Mark's, but it is the first one that I've added to my collection in ages that I've just wanted to take straight into the kitchen. I'll see if I can add the French Laundry to my Christmas list.

I have eaten at LCS and it was a faultless meal. My only criticism wasn't that fair, I love to eat out but one reason is to inspire my cooking at home. LCS was such a combination of tastes, textures and presentation that I felt quite inadequate. However David has managed to produce a cookbook that makes those same dishes appear within reach. Obviously after I've had a go I'll need to head back to Cheltenham to compare my versions :wink:

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I’ve read through Essence a couple of times and it has plenty to offer at all levels. What at first seems unobtainable (I’m not likely to go foraging for wild ingredients) is at least supplemented by alternatives and suggestions. As I’ve reread the book I’m coming to the conclusion that there is a lot of interest in just those ideas alone.

It’s a very good book. It’s a very interesting book. It’s not by Jamie Oliver :wink:

For gardeners at least, there’s a certain thrill for having a recipe that uses ground elder.

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It does look rather good - a little on the light side, but I fear I will be seduced and will end up buying. Thank goodness for Amazon, I would be broke otherwise!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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it's got an interesting section of photographs and information about some of the less commonplace ingredients (wild herbs/botanical sources) that he uses too, and lists suppliers.

I'd guess only about a third of the dishes are illustrated, but that's hardly atypical. and the text does keep changing colour. it's all good.

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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finally got hold of the book & I think its great - already planning a dinner party around it this weekend. can't remember being this excited about a cookery book in a long, long while. I love the fact that some dishes seem simple & straightforward and some look they needs days of preparation. But the best thing in the book is the very last sentence (on the cover) where it says "... is his first book" implying there's going to be another sometime. Although DEM should be allowed a wee rest after this - hopefully not too long before the outline plan is developed.

There are, of course, lots of mistakes in the book. For instance - the pistachio & olive oil cake says its for 10 – rubbish, its for one - like I'm going to share that with anyone. There's also something called an "elderberry gastric" - I have no idea what that is but I can't wait to indulge.

Other high end books such as french laundry, charlie trotter, el bulli etc. - are great for inspiration - but mostly leave me cold & distant. But unlike the others this one makes me want to be a better chef

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  • 1 month later...

a rather belated note after a very very good meal here last week - all of which makes even me more impatient for my copy of Essence to arrive from Santa!

I was lucky enough to served a tasting menu - one of those times when my greed pays off! Random notes follow:

Smoked eel brandade, Horseradish cream, Fried sand eels.

A big hit for me - lovely creamy brandade and thought the heat of the horseradish was particulaly well judged, adding enough warmth but not so hot that it risked bludgeoning your taste buds at the start of the meal.

Seared scallop, cauliflower puree,wood sorrel, cumin foam, ras el hanout caramel.

I love scallops, and thought this was a great dish. I got plenty of cumin flavour in the foam so all very good, and lots of wood sorrel - excellent.

Langoustine,veal breast, peanuts, broccoli puree.

It was the veal breast that stood out for me - far more richly flavoured than I expected of veal.

Zander, stew of duck hearts and bay boletus, red wine emulsion, radish shoots

Thought this was fantastic - the duck hearts were incredibly tender and the mushrooms were very very good. One of the best three dishes of the overall meal for me.

Kid cannelloni, lambs tongue, goats curds, land cress puree.

Ah - had heard of this elsewhere - and wasn't sure if I was going to appreciate it if only because I'm not fond of goat's cheese, but this was amazing. For me, the curds worked well with the meat, and the meat was incredibly tender. Polished the lot off in no time, and I had a new entry for favourite dish.

Pigs trotter stuffed with snails and nettles, homemade black pudding ,braised cheek. Jerusalem artichoke puree, crosnes.

Piggy heaven for me. My favourite was the suprisingly light black pudding which was studded with sweetbreads - a genius touch to add new texture and interest and a highly commendable update of this excellent food, and one which I would like like to see more of! The jerusalem artichoke puree was impossibly smooth - practically liquid. I did also disgrace myself but not recognising the crosnes as Chinese artichoke ... note to self - must read more of my Davidson.

Pandanus leaf tapioca, caramelised mango, palm syrup.

Have a vague recollection of the tapioca being in coconut milk and it was delicious. Was impressed and gratified that the mango had been ready sliced under the caramel shell - a nice attention to detail which saved me from risking injury or accidental spillage.

Bitter chocolate delice, salted caramel centre, malted barley ice cream.

Someone had previously described this as a giant rolo - which amuses me far more than it should! It was stonkingly good - and from now on, don't accept someone's last rolo as a token of their affection ... a real sign of love is if they make this for you ...

Finally, peppermint tea with P4s which I was invited to take in the lounge and thereby get to meet David. Actually, I have to say that the Everitt-Matthias are so generous with their petit four offering, I could have sworn that a branch of Thorntons had just opened up in front of me!

Was the first time I'd met David, and he's as marvellous as Helen is, exceptionally friendly and modest which is my poor excuse for chatting to them for as long as I did. Their talent is what has brought them so much success, but it makes me very very happy that good stuff happens to two genuinely nice people.

So - I had a lovely time and a fantastic meal - bold and strong flavours, generous and warm service - why can't more places pull this off? It's probably good that I live 180 miles away otherwise I would be visiting far too often. As it is, my enthusiastic ravings to friends means I might be able to recruit some more stomachs for a repeat visit. Now where did I put my diary .....

Edited by YKL (log)
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