Michelin type cookery books - recommendations?

I’m looking for cookery book recommendations. I’d really like recipes similar to those which might be used at really high end restaurants - the Michelin starred kind of places. For instance, we’ve been to one particular place for a couple of special occasions which served things like (clear) tomato ice lollies for amuse-bouches and things with foam all over the place. Not the sort of thing I’d cook on a weekly basis, obviously but nice for a special meal, but I couldn’t begin to work out how to make them. I’ve tried looking at books published by celebrity type chefs, but even mad Heston Blumenthal seems to go all sensible for the recipe books I’ve seen.

Any suggestions? I’m in the UK if that matters, but I’m happy to order online if anyone has any suggestions. I guess if anyone has any website recommendations, that would be good too.

Huge thanks in advance as always…

There’s the Alinea cookbook.

Then just work your way through the suggestions on that page. The El Bulli one is pretty cool as well.

The French Laundry Cookbookis pretty amazing.

There’s fancy chemistry involved in those recipes - the term is “molecular gastronomy” you can find some recipes here:

The el Bulli cookbooks are the grand daddy’s of the field but they’re monstrously expensive.

As a chef, I can tell you, cooking high end recipes successfully is more than having the book. And molecular gastronomy is a PITA that usually is visually appealing, but the texture can be off putting to family and friends who are unfamiliar with that aspect of cuisine. And if you have not eaten much asian or high end vegetarian/vegan foods, molecular gastronomy can seem just plain weird.

You will need to practice and fail many times over when stepping up to high end, 4 star cooking. And certainly I would recommend other books before diving into Keller, Achatz and Adria. Not because it can’t be done at home, but because… well it would be like just getting a drivers license than trying to drive through NYC in a formula one car or semi truck. You need to build up to it, get basic techniques down pat, realize that many recipes require hours upon hours and multiple days of prep. You need to have kick ass successes under your belt so when you do dive into the French Laundry book and fail, screwing up a fish stock or rue, you are more likely to try again and do it well someday because you already had a great success and made a fab coc au vin or sated caramel cheescake from a Bourdain or Child book.

Robuchon’s The Complete Robuchon, and especially Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking are excellent and turn out an impressive spread for fancy dinners that anyone can do for a fab French dinner. I would, and it sounds cliche, start with the grand dame Julia Child and her Mastering the art of French Cooking books will teach you HOW to cook. And while you may cook at home, few of us know how, the proper techniques, with none of the cheats and shortcuts we usually use because life requires us to squeeze 30 hours of tasks and chores into 18 hours (24 if you never sleep).

There is also a philosophical side that some Chefs have and are necessary to understand when doing high end cooking. That food is an art form. A sculpture on a plate. A perfection from sight to scent to texture to taste. Something to be respected 1st and foremost before anything else. That is consistent, a POV shared by every staff member of a fine dining establishment. That philosophy of food is what separates high end restaurants from others. You will see this from some cooks and chefs in lower stared restaurants, and that should be commended. If fully satisfied from sight to stomach, thank that cook or chef. You have just enjoyed the work of an artist.

I came in to suggest this too.

They are precisely the one kind of cookbook I don’t buy however I picked up Gordon Ramsay 3 Star Chef and almost bought it. The food photography is unbelievable, it’s like looking at a book of fine art prints and the recipes are so detailed and challenging that they are almost like a dare.

I don’t know how useful this site: booko will be to non-Aussies, but it searches sites all over the world for the best price for a book including postage to Australia. For my purposes the winner is always The Book Depository because it is often less than UK retail and posts worlwide for free.

I got given this as a gift the other day. I don’t think there’s a single recipe I could even consider trying. Amazing stuff, incredible food and photos though. It really highlights his genius, though, don’t it?

I myself have a cookbook from Le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons that I have done an entire dinner party for. Challenging but very rewarding.

Thanks for the great suggestions everyone - my stomach and those of my friends will be very grateful, although I fear my bank balance may not… Several of those books look like works of art in their own right, and though I somehow neglected to mention any food-porn aspects of my request, it seems they are fulfilled too. I’m looking forward to many happy hours playing in the kitchen.

genXmalcontent thanks for your advice and concern: I have to say they’re based on some massive and wholly incorrect assumptions about my interests, history and abilities but I shall take them as well meant. :slight_smile: