When I first approached this book I wasn't impressed! It seemed to be far to artistic, busy and looked complicated. When I actually sat down and read it, though, I quickly changed my mind. This is a very refreshing cookbook with a extremely original approach to presenting the recipes. Breton Michelin-starred chef Olivier Roilinger, who has a passion for the sea and trade routes, has used a nautical approach to his dishes, giving Contemporary French Cuisine a fun themed approach to cooking.
Each chapter is based on the spices and ingredients that were brought back by the early explorers who sailed the seas, and recounts how these ingredients made their way to our table. Each recipe includes a story or information behind the ingredients and is accompanied by diagram of how the dish is to be plated. At first I thought these diagrams were sterile, but as I read the recipes it made the finished plating of each dish far clearer than any photo.
To understand why we think this book is 'Nautical, but Nice', lets look at the layout of the recipes. They are presented as if you were setting sail, with: Crew (portions), Rigging (utensils), Cruising Time (cooking time), From The Ship's Hold (accompaning wine), Provisions (ingredients), Galley Pantry 1, 2, etc (sections), First Tack, Second Tack (method stages) and, for those feeling a bit seasick, Landfall (to serve). Ok, you could say that the book's design is from tortured mind of a deranged French Chef, but it works and the layout guides you through preparing, cooking and presenting the dishes. What more could you want?
This cookbook is a refreshing change to the everyday layout and approach to food. It is informative, fun and enticing, with plenty of great recipes, especially for those lovers of seafood.