If there's something we keep getting requests for, it's our restaurant cookbook reviews. Many of you have been enjoying this series so here is another review, this time from the Atelier Crenn Cookbook.
Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste is the debut cookbook of Dominique Crenn, the first female chef in America to be awarded two Michelin stars. This gorgeous book traces Crenn’s rise from her childhood in France to her unprecedented success with her own restaurant, Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco. With recipes that reflect her poetic nature, Crenn challenge the expected with their surprising components and her signature creative plating.
"Food that delights the palate the way a poem delights the ear; each dish layers meaning within the meal in the way that a single line of poetry builds toward the significance of a poem." Such experience is what you can find in this book.
Atelier Crenn is divided into chapters on Origin, Plant, Sea, Land, Dream, and Craft, and the imaginative recipes are interpretations of Crenn’s idyllic childhood on the coast and farms of Brittany, her experience dining and training in sophisticated restaurants around the world, and her evolution into a renowned chef. Her evocative dishes are inspired by, and pay homage to, the natural world. There is A Walk in the Forest, with its intricate elements like basil soil, mushroom whims, and hazelnut praline, and The Sea, which includes squid ink meringue, smoked trout roe, and saffron aioli.
With her unique approach and celebration of sustainable and seasonal ingredients, Crenn creates nuanced food that merges tradition and innovation as well as memories and imagination. Truly stunning photography of show-stopping dishes and behind-the-scenes views of the restaurant are interleaved throughout.
Atelier Crenn is packed with multi-page and in some cases multi-day, recipes for highly conceptual dishes - made with modernist techniques and ingredients like blue-green algae and powdered plankton. This might not be what the average home cook is looking for, but Crenn implores non-professional readers to let the book be an "invitation." Crenn’s approach to cooking is to create a feeling, a memory, an idea, and this debut cookbook seeks to inspire readers to regard the kitchen as an atelier where they can create their own art.
Although the main objective of this book is not to be used as a recipe guide, the level of detail in the recipes is incredible. Not only do you have a must-read introduction in each recipe that explains the idea behind the dish, as well as the importance of every element (ingredients) used, but you also have detailed instructions about how each dish is made and how should be plated and served.
We already said this in many of our restaurant cookbook reviews, but books like this one are not meant to be used as "normal" cookbooks. Books like Atelier Crenn are made to tell stories and to inspire people whether they are professional chefs or just passionate home cooks.
This impressive and beautiful cookbook perfectly captures the essence of Crenn's cooking. Like her approach to food, this book is unique and offers something that you won't find in other restaurant cookbooks. Definitely more than just a book of recipes, Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste, tells us the stories, textures, feelings, and emotions of the acclaimed San Francisco two Michelin star restaurant.
Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste is a must-read for any restaurant cookbook aficionado. So pull up a chair, relax, and marvel at the creative poetry on a plate from one of the most famous female chefs in the world.