Alain Ducasse Publishing: My Best

Alain Ducasse in 2013

Alain Ducasse Publishing created four slim books that make the perfect gifts for a foodie host or hostess – or that cooking enthusiast student who deserves a lovely graduation present. My Best series, distributed in the US by Abrams, features ten or so of the most iconic recipes from the world’s most celebrated chefs including Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, Pierre Herme, and Alain Ducasse himself.

In a short introduction, he writes:

I decided to create this collection in order to offer the best recipes by the best chefs in the world in an accessible format. I came up with it out of my desire to transfer quality content and originality. I did not want the educational aspect of the step-by-step preparation, in which lies the true value of these books, to spoil the beauty of the object.

Each book starts with an interview and a time line with key dates in the chef’s career. Then come the recipes.

My Best by Daniel BouludDaniel Boulud has a lot to say about each step and why each recipe is included. His book starts with the cover recipe, Crispy Duck Egg and Asparagus Salad (pp. 8-15). In the photograph by Thomas Schauer, a soft duck egg is surrounded by crisp breading, and then cradled in jambon de Paris, made in house, asparagus and a mustard sauce thickened with poached egg white. “It’s the ultimate New York Sunday brunch dish with a Parisian touch.” The lovely dressing alone is worth knowing how to make. The second dish is Octopus a la Plancha with Valencia Orange and Almond Puree. “This dish reminds me of the southern coast of Spain, with its Marcona almonds and Valencia oranges, but the seasoning leans more Middle Eastern with Aleppo pepper,” writes the chef. He shows you how to prepare a whole octopus, make the almond puree, sear the octopus on a grill and then assemble the dish. It is a challenging dish only, but it is one that could be done in a home kitchen.

My Best by Eric RipertEric Ripert’s book consists of ten seafood recipes. It is perfect for a seaside holiday. The first recipe is for Fluke (pp. 8-15). The chef writes:

The dish is inspired by my travels to Peru. The ceviche stat with a simple base recipe, then, with the addition o a few ingredients, increase in complexity and intensity.

The first photograph by Angela Mosier is of a rectangular white plate holding three round dishes of fluke, each one with additional ingredients. There are two halibut recipes. The first is pictured on the cover of the book, a Halibut Casserole (pp. 16-23) in which the fish is cooked with mushrooms, pearl onions and asparagus tips. The second is Halibut Citrus Emulsion (pp. 24- 31). In this dish the fish is poached separately and plated over potato-fennel puree, and a red miso citrus emulsion.

My Best series are promotional: they include restaurant addresses and pictures of the chefs working. They are definitely for fans. But they also do include good recipes with plenty of information about how to actually prepare them yourself.

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