Michel Roux Reveals the Essence of French Cooking (and Shares his Favourite Recipes)
Michel Roux’s newest cookbook reveals the secret to mastering the art of one of the world’s most famous cuisines.
Love. That’s all you need to master the art of French cooking. Well, that and a little bit of patience.
For world-renowned chef, Michel Roux (his premiere restaurant, Le Gavroche, was the first in Britain to be awarded three Michelin stars), this meant dedicating more than 60 years to the craft. “French cooking is so varied and so wide,” he says, “It’s love and time, but it’s worth it.”
Although many would associate French cooking with difficult techniques, Roux insists that it’s more about celebrating the beautiful ingredients found throughout the country. France, he says, is lucky to be filled with microclimate environments, each of which will have a different effect on produce and livestock: beef may be richer or lighter and vegetables may be more earthy—even cheese will vary depending on a region’s climate.
Roux’s newest book, The Essence of French Cooking, is a culmination of everything he’s learned over the course of a lifetime. “It’s not about the most expensive ingredient,” he says, “Even the most humble ingredients can become the most glorious dish.” Take his monkfish casserole (one of his personal favourites) or guinea fowl cooked with Riesling and chanterelles for example: both are easy to prepare and are perfect for sharing around the dinner table.
The cookbook is filled with classic French recipes, some even the most professional chefs will have trouble executing but Roux has also included dishes for modest home cooks to try their hands at, including his Winter Squash Soup and Chocolate Mousse.
“We’re here to leave an experience of good eating,” he says, “That’s what food is all about: enjoyment.” – That’s the essence of French cooking.
The Essence of French Cooking ($62), indigo.ca.
Try Michel Roux’s Favourite Recipes
Soupe de Potiron (Winter Squash Soup)
“This is a staple of home-cooking all over France, where squash and pumpkins are known by varying regional terms: potiron, citrouille, courge, etc. Spices can be added in moderation (a little curry powder, perhaps), but it’s up to you… I love it just as it is.” — see recipe
Mousse au Chocolat
“Some chocolate mousse recipes use a crème anglaise base, but I find that too rich, which is why I favour this still rich, but not cloyingly so, version. An almond tuile would go beautifully as an accompaniment. Good-quality chocolate is essential; choose the variety according to the intensity of flavour required—the higher the cocoa solids the more intense the flavour.”
— see recipe