Friday, November 18, 2011

My Favorite Cookbooks, Pt. 5... Combined Giradet!

This is both a double review and an ode to a chef that I wish I could've worked for.

Wikipedia quote:
Frédy Girardet (born 17 November 1936 in Lausanne) is a Swiss chef who cooks in the French tradition. Often considered one of the greatest chefs of the 20th Century, his self-named restaurant in Crissier, Switzerland (near Lausanne, Switzerland) earned three Michelin stars and before Giradet's retirement in 1996 was often called the greatest restaurant in the world.

Fredy's first book is a rarity to find.  They sold out of it's first printings very quickly and has become a cult classic amongst chefs.  Giradet went to show that improvision could be done at a very high level as long as the technique & quality of the ingredients at hand were of the highest level.  I've worked for one chef that came out of his kitchen and it was interesting to have Giradet's books while perusing that restaurant's recipe book.

If you see a copy of this in good condition, buy it!

Reading The Cuisine of Fredy Giradet gives you a look into the larder of an intelligent, opinionated chef with extremely high standards.  But his cooking wasn't supercomplex, just a reaction to the market with an extreme focus on palate and seasoning.  Words to live by.

His second book is pretty intense as well and was released after he'd left his restaurant.

This book has a slew of pictures, which makes it very different from the first.  I love the detail, the minutia of every single dish.  He insists on perfection more akin to a watchmaker than a chef.  The dish itself is simple, but the technique is complex.  Effing awesome.

His foie gras & game recipes are an incredible reference, as you know they're going to work.  Isn't that the best type of cookbook?  Honest & proven.  No bullshit.  I think the best thing is his philosophy of cooking... the complete opposite of the molecular gastronomy movement, which Giradet has actively spoken out against.  He doesn't agree with the fact the ingredients used aren't natural.  I think he views it as cheating or a fad.  I love the old schoolers, even if I can't completely agree with them, they don't back down. 

And Fredy Giradet was one of the best.


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