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In the Kitchen with Alain Passard

Comic artist Christophe Blain documents the Michelin-starred chef's culinary exploits

by James Thorne in Food + Drink on 05 June 2013

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Already smitten with the idea of an illustrated cookbook, after trying out Amanda Cohen's "Dirt Candy," we were thrilled to hear about the release an English language version of "In the Kitchen with Alain Passard." The comic book-style collection follows illustrator Christophe Blain as he navigates the strange and magical world of L'Arpége, chef Passard's three-star restaurant on the corner of Rue de Varenne and Rue de Bourgogne in Paris. Featuring 15 recipes for the at-home cook, the book is as much a documentation of Passard's process and vision as it is a cooking manual.

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Famous for his bio-dynamic garden in Le Mans, Passard has managed to create a veritable temple to vegetables, treating them with the same care and reverence as the choicest cuts of meat. Christopher Blain describes the experience of eating at L'Arpége as if he were an explorer tasting the cuisine of parts unknown. On sampling hay-flavored ice cream, Blain writes that the dish captures "the experience of breathing hay." All the while, standing behind the recipes and descriptions is a caricature of Passard that is witty, refined and full of intensity.

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A necessary companion for the vegetarian elite, "In the Kitchen with Alain Passard" is available from Amazon and Chronicle Books. See a recipe for cabbage and parmesan salad from the book after the jump.

Heart of Baby Cabbage and Parmesan Slaw

Using a mandoline, grate a young loose-leaf cabbage, such as baby bok choy, very finely into a large bowl. You will get a sort of raw sauerkraut. Untangle the shreds and add one young carrot, freshly grated; one bunch of small red radishes, quartered; four small white or black radishes, sliced on a mandoline into thin rounds; and the crushed leaves of 1/2 bundle of tarragon. Dress with a good sprits of olive oil, three to four tablespoons of sweetened soy sauce, and two tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Voilà—that's it! Serve with grilled country bread, rubbed with lemon peel.

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