Daniel: My French Cuisine is the latest book from Chef Daniel Boulud. The book is huge, weighing in at more than five pounds, but despite its size and the fact that it is packed with beautiful photography, this is much more than just a coffee table book. The book is actually divided into several distinct sections and all of them are well worth reading – as well as cooking from.
The first section contains recipes for dishes from the chef’s three Michelin-star restaurant in New York, Daniel. They’re not necessarily the simplest recipes to cook since they all have multiple components, but every one of them has been carefully broken down to make them as accessible as possible so that you can actually recreate those restaurant dishes in your own kitchen. As Chef Daniel pointed out, you can also mix and match some of the components – a meat and a sauce, for instance – to simplify the recipes and still capture those same three-star flavors. This section is also peppered with essays written by the chef, with his thoughts on ingredients and other cooking techniques.
The second portion of the book is an ode to traditional french cuisine. The chef got together with writer Bill Buford and they set out to recreate some of the most iconic dishes of classical french cooking. This portion of the book is for your reading enjoyment, since these very old fashioned recipes might not be the kind of dishes that you’ll want to serve at your own sunday suppers (such as an unusual stuffed turbot souffle recipe), but they are fascinating to read about.
The final portion of the book is dedicated to home cooking and features the kind of dishes that Daniel entertains with himself. These are more casual, more approachable dishes that are anyone can cook in their home kitchen without having to tweak the recipes too much. Since Daniel lives above his namesake restaurant, the bar is still very high when it comes to flavor and you won’t be disappointed with what these recipes deliver, even if they’re served family style instead of being as elaborately plated as the dishes presented in the beginning of the book.