Relae: A Book of Ideas is written by Christian F. Puglisi, the owner and chef of Coppenhagen restaurant Relae. When Puglisi first set the goal of opening his restaurant, he had a very clear vision of what a fine dining should be–a simple setting for pure, unadulterated enjoyment of finest ingredients and their flavors. This philosophy is very appealing to me, so the book seemed doubly attractive. And, boy, it didn’t disappoint.
The format and content: This book, although has recipes in the back, is not a cookbook in a conventional sense. It’s a collection of essays on every subject regarding food that is prepared and served in Relae. It also talks about the workings of the restaurant and techniques applied to food preparation. It includes essays water and natural wine, exotic ingredients and best way to bake bread etc. Each essay contains helpful tips that came from years of careful study of cooking and enormous love of the culinary art.
I have to say- this is the most meticulously organized book I have ever held in my hands! Every essay is cross referenced to other subjects touched in the book, the sections are color coded for easier search. It’s amazing! There is no particular order of reading, no prerequisites. Pugisi suggests to just go ahead and explore the book and see where it gets us. The photography is simple and attractive.
There is a section with recipes in the appendix, each recipe has a thumbnail picture, so you know what it looks like without having to go back to the essay talking about the dish. The preparation process is clearly laid out in the recipe. The recipes themselves look do-able even if a bit intimidating to me , mostly because of ingredients that are not readily available in your typical American supermarket. However I am determined to try a few, that are more accessible, especially the Sourdough bread (Puglisi emphasizes the importance of good bread and I wholeheartedly agree).
Overall impression: Excellent book, a true treasury of gastronomic knowledge. I am excited to explore it more and see how it would influence my approach to food preparation (there is no doubt that it will). Five stars.
I have received this book for review from Blogging for Books