Since this site is everything food and food photography related, I felt I would be remiss in not including cookbooks. I guess these can be considered reviews but not necessarily critiques. Since I’m only going to write about books I like, it won’t be totally objective.
For the first book, I chose Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi. I didn’t buy the book for the recipes, though they look pretty amazing. I bought this book because it is the most beautiful cookbook I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been much of a recipe follower so I get most cookbooks for the pictures. Photographer Ditte Isager does an amazing job along with food stylist Christine Rudolph.
Here’s an excerpt from Chef René’s official bio:
René Redzepi has been widely credited with reinventing Nordic cuisine. After cooking at some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants including under Ferran Adriá at el Bulli and Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, Redzepi became head chef and co-founder of Noma in 2003 at the age of just 25. Since then he has quickly developed to become one of his generation’s most respected chefs, and has received huge international acclaim, including Noma being recognized as the Best Restaurant in the World at the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2010.
Noma went on to win the award in 2011 and 2012.
As the name of the book suggests, Chef René returned to Denmark to open a restaurant focusing on Nordic cuisine. Most of the ingredients are sourced and foraged locally. There’s even a recipe for reindeer. Of course, there are also many recipes using ingredients that can be found in most areas. After reading many of the recipes, I don’t think a casual cook would have a very easy time cooking a lot of what is contained in this book.
But that’s ok. As I said before, this is a beautiful book. I have spent hours looking through the pages finding culinary and photographic inspiration. It is also formatted differently than any cookbook I’ve ever seen.
The book starts with several essays about Nordic cuisine, Noma and a diary of a week in the life of Chef René. There’s even a fold-out map of the Nordic region. Then it goes into the full-color picture section with amazing photos of landscapes, ingredients and final dishes. There are two-page numbers on these pages, the current page and the page where the recipe can be found. This is necessary because the recipes are in a separate section of the book.
I’d have to say, I am a little intimidated to try any of the recipes in this book. Most of them are pretty straight-forward and the instructions are easy to follow, but there is still something daunting about them. For me, this is more of an art book.
You can order it from Amazon using this link: Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine