The French Laundry vs. Bouchon - Technique

Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by robenco18, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. robenco18

    robenco18

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    Hi All,

    Yes this is another x. versus y. post.

    Between the two, which one provides more technique for the adventurous home cook who isn't worried about the actual recipes in either book. I can follow a recipe and find ingredients, and I do know that Bouchon is more at home friendly. However, in terms of learning more from, which book do you recommend?

    I have read that Bouchon has a section in the back called "Basics" while The French Laundry does not. Not being able to look in Bouchon, is this section the section that pushes it over the top for me when comparing it to The French Laundry?

    Disclaimer: I do own Ad Hoc, so if Bouchon's content is exactly what is in Ad Hoc then that might be a factor in this decision.

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Costco has his books right now at $29.99 for each of The French Laundry, Ad Hoc at Home, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery. Great Deal, but I only picked up Ad Hoc at Home. Budget wasn't quite ready for $120 of great books.
     
  3. robenco18

    robenco18

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    Yes and Amazon also sells TFL and Bouchon together for something like 60 dollars or so. Not what I was getting at though with my original question. I'm not trying to collect cookbooks and never use them. I'm not a fan of using cookbooks as coffee table books. I don't even have a coffee table (I'm a student).
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    No, I didn't think that you were. I haven't looked at my copy yet to recommend one over the other either. Just trying to point you to a helpful deal.
     
  5. robenco18

    robenco18

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    I look forward to hearing from you. Sorry that my reply came off as rude. I was typing it on my iphone and was just trying to be concise. I meant no disrespect!
     
     
  6. robenco18

    robenco18

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    ???
     
  7. chefross

    chefross

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    Are you aware that Bouchon and French Laundry are all in the family?

    Bouchon is owned by the brother of French Laundry Thomas Keller.

    Their cooking methods reflect that as well.

    If you are looking to refine your culinary skills, both books will offer some good ideas.
     
  8. shelmica

    shelmica

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    I have all his cookbooks. I loke Bouchon the best of all for a serious home cook. I have made several recipes and his basics section is excellent. There is some overlap wijth ad hoc at home. I really improved my cooking through the techniques in bouchon. Ive made a few things in french laundry, but you need a kitchen staff!
     
  9. jellly

    jellly

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    My local library has both books.  Maybe you should try borrowing it to compare for yourself.
     
  10. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Neither. They are virtually identical in this regard as they are both written by Thomas Keller. Neither book is one I would suggest as a reference for technique. You really need an extensive culinary background to glean much from either book other than a base guide to some of Keller's recipes. The recipe translation in his books is not as good (IMO) as other Authors like Charlie Palmer, Jacques Pepin etc. I think of the two books as food porn (although there are other books with much better photography). If hard pressed between the two I'd pick the FL but only by a smidgeon because of some of the signature dish's.

    IMO you already have the best of TK's books.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  11. robenco18

    robenco18

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    Hi All,

    I was finally able to get Bouchon at the local library. I was really hoping the Basic Preparations and Techniques section in the back would be worth it over The French Laundry as someone who still has plenty to learn, but it was disappointing. It was disappointing because I already have Ad Hoc At Home. The "Basics" section in Ad Hoc at Home has so much overlap with Bouchon that it isn't worth it. Yes, Bouchon has more stock recipes, some jus recipes, and other French Bistro specific preparations that Ad Hoc at Home doesn't, but I can definitely live without all of that for now as I more concerned with learning various techniques as opposed to very specific French Bistro cooking.

    If anything, after looking at TFL and Bouchon, it only made me realize how perfect Ad Hoc at Home really is. There is just so much information crammed into Ad Hoc at Home that I don't think I want to even spend any money on another Thomas Keller cook book until I've exhausted at least 50 to 75 percent of the information in Ad Hoc at Home. And by then, I will buy both TFL and Bouchon at the same time and be content for the rest of my life.

    Having a library nearby is also great as I can easily get TFL anytime I want. TFL's recipes appealed to me more so than Bouchon's too.

    BUT, any major/popular recipe I'd want to do out of TFL and Bouchon (and I will probably do 1 or 2 this coming Spring) IS ONLINE!

    I'm more excited for the Zwilling Knives, All Clad d5 Skillet and Saucepan, and Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stock Pot, I'm getting for Christmas more than anything now!

    Thank you all for your insights! They were greatly appreciated!
     
  12. mamelok

    mamelok

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    I have had the French Laundry Cookbook from when it first came out.  It is for the serious and experienced home chef, but the recipes work well.  As with all recipes, ultimately it comes down to the tastes of the chef, and tasting as one goes is essential in any case.   Having eaten at both Per Se and The French Laundry the recipes that I did recognize from those restaurants are the real deal, as long as you are committed to finding the best ingredients.  While each dish has multiple components, many can be made omitting one or the other and there is some mixing and matching between recipes that also work.  The recipes are not for a quick dinner after a day at work.  I'd recommend the book to anyone who knows the basics of cooking and has a lot of experience with a varitey of techniques and ingredients.  But it is also good for someone who wants to expand his/her repertoire.  As a companion book, if  one is into sous vide cooking, Keller's Under Pressure is also excellent and similar in style and complexity as the FL Cookbook

    Bouchon reflects the style of restaurant (a bistro) as much as the FL reflects its namesake.  The recipes are good and the dishes tasty (by the way, the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook is also a very good one). 
     
     
  13. bea long

    bea long

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    I love the Bouchon Bakery. It really does make a difference when measuring by weight VS measuring cups! I have long since quit using measuring cups. Then next to that is The American Boulangerie. by Pascal Rigo. I have made enough canneles de bordeaux  to feed all of France, but I do love them and can't help myself. I use the copper molds, a bit expensive but they are to good not to make everyday. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
     
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013