Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste

with Karen Leibowitz (text) & Ed Anderson (photos). Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2015. 376p. index. ISBN 9780544444676. $50. COOKING
French chef Crenn was the first woman to earn two Michelin stars in the United States for her San Francisco restaurant, Atelier Crenn. In her first cookbook, she writes of her early life and the struggles and successes of being a restaurant owner and chef. Most of the recipes are for single bites that take hours to make and require the use of tweezers to plate. Crenn believes in the sustainable food movement and recommends the use of local, fresh vegetables and seafood. Divided into sections: plant, sea, land, dream (desserts), and craft (broths, syrups, bread), the book offers clearly written, although unusual, recipes including such dishes as white chocolate salsify or sea urchin with licorice. Each supplies directions, equipment, and the time needed to prepare and plate. Many ingredients will require trips to specialty shops or online orders: agar-agar, locust bean gum, and sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) among them.
VERDICT Adventurous cooks with time and money will enjoy attempting Crenn's recipes, but most others will be content to read the recollections and recipes, enjoy the artful photographs, and dream of a dinner at Atelier Crenn.
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