It’s not often that we enjoy reading a cookbook from cover to cover. In the Kitchen with Alain Passard: Inside the World (and Mind) of a Master Chef is such an exception.
During a period of three years, illustrator Christophe Blain followed three-star Michelin chef Alain Passard through his kitchens and gardens. The result is a wonderful, funny, graphic cookbook that shows not only beautiful, colourful food and the way it’s prepared, but above all it shows the world and kitchen of a chef.
Around 1998 Alain Passard decided to focus on preparing and serving vegetables in his Parisian restaurant, L’Arpege. He set up two organic gardens, making sure he can cook with excellent, seasonal ingredients. Nowadays L’Arpege offers a inspiring menu with vegetables at the centre, but also room for lobster, chicken and duck. Take some time to browse his website and enjoy the wonderful pictures and combinations. Impressive, isn’t it?
Unfortunately dining at L’Arpege is a well above our budget, so once in a while we open this wonderful book (published in 2013) and smile when reading the illustrated dialog between the Chef and the Illustrator. As if you can hear them talk about a dish that is being prepared by the Chef!
The drawings are simple, subtle, lively and colourful. They perfectly visualise the dining room, the reaction of the guests when tasting the dish, the movements of the Chef, his kitchen staff and the waiters.
Then we start preparing one of the 15 recipes, for instance his Potato Paillasse with Sage and young Garlic or his combination of carrots, cinnamon and basil. We’re probably not even close to the dish as served at L’Arpege, but we’re enjoying it immensely.