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Thursday 28 September 2017

Forget the food fraudsters: Here's French cuisine from the experts

How many recipe books do you have on your shelf? Probably dozens. 

And how many of them are a complete waste of time?

A well-known Australian chef goes to France for a month and returns with dozens of recipes. Or a British TV personality spends a few weeks in Mexico and comes back with the recipes he says we all need to have. 

I call bullshit. Many of these books look great but rehash the same old dishes or subtle twists on them. Or use ingredients we cannot access in Australia.

These trips are a nice little tax deduction/holiday with the wife/girlfriend but who can taste and reproduce 60 or 70 dishes over just a few weeks? The generic recipes are often sourced by the chef's assistants/acolytes. 

Far more useful, if less impressive on the coffee table, is a cookbook in the style of Lonely Planet Food: France From the Source. 

Here you'll find authentic French recipes "from the people who know them best". 

Divided up regionally, here you'll find recipes (often simple ones) from well-known chefs who specialise in regional and seasonal cuisine. 

Here are 63 recipes drawn from all over France with the ingredients and techniques described by those who have been making them for decades; not someone who just got off the plane and became an instant expert.

Think dishes like sardine pate, boeuf bourguinon or apple and rhubarb tartlet. And think chefs like Michel Guerard, Franck Lafon, Jean-Pierre Hocquet and Lionel Freitas. Local chefs who have perfected their regional specialities. 

Beautifully illustrated, this is worth more than a dozen glossy coffee table tomes to anyone interested in serious French cooking. 

Lonely Planet Food, France From the Source. RRP: $34.99.

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