This book is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. It has all the typical things I might mention as positives in a book review. It has a fantastic story about the owners and the beginnings of the restaurant, it has incredible photography, and it’s beautifully made. What sets this book apart from some of the other cookbooks of this caliber like The French Laundry, Under Pressure, and Modernist Cuisine is that the recipes in this book are not impossible!
Upon first glance they seem challenging. But if you think through them, plan accordingly, and don’t mind making a few substitutions (store bought chicken broth is an ok replacement for that 50g of home made called for in a giant recipe) or omissions you can actually accomplish a lot with this book.
While Eleven Madison Park is sometimes labeled as Modernist cooking and has 3 Michelin stars, many of the recipes use traditional techniques and ingredients. The Chicken Veloute and Brioche I’ve made on this blog are classical French preparations with nothing crazy about them.
The food in this book is beautiful and elaborate, but you can always be assured it will taste delicious. I currently have bookmarked at least 20 other dishes I’d like to attempt. Finding inspiration is no problem here, it’s finding time I am struggling with.
Cameron Lasswell says
I guess I disagree a bit about the approachable nature of this cookbook. It’s an absolutely beautiful cookbook with stunning photography. But the recipes are insanely demanding. So many of the recipes require fresh truffles which makes it impossible unless you’re independently wealthy. One recipe calls for 1/2 cup of fresh black truffles. I’m guessing that would be around $500 or so? Most recipes have at least 10-20 sub-recipes. I’ve only attempted 1 full recipe and two sub-recipes within the book. I did the roasted cauliflower recipe and it was probably the most stressful cooking experience of my life. Pretty much impossible to serve at the correct temperature due to plating all the ingredients. If I had 4-5 helpers…maybe. It was very good but not worth the stress. I made the popcorn ice cream which definitely lived up to its name but it needed to be incorporated into his full recipe to work. It wasn’t sweet enough by itself. Finally I made the Granny Smith Ice Cream which was good but ended up more like a sorbet probably due to all the apple juice that was incorporated. I’m not giving this book negative marks really. It’s just that it’s really not practical for the home cook unless you have a team to help. My go-to cookbook is “Modernist Cuisine At Home”. That book is AMAZING!