Your Three-Star Kitchen

By Colman Andrews

Published on January 25, 2008

Well, actually, you probably don't have a three-star kitchen. And—no offense—but you're probably not anywhere near as good a cook as Philippe Rochat (or even Benoit Violier). And you almost certainly don't have a kitchen staff of 21 and the ability to buy asparagus harvested yesterday in Provence or fresh morels foraged in Puy de Dome or sweetbreads from milk-fed Swiss veal. What's the point of offering recipes from Rochat, then? How can a nonprofessional (or a professional without Rochat's unique skills) hope to reproduce this extraordinary food? There are two answers: the first is that these dishes are reasonably straightforward and thus possible for anyone who knows his or her way around the kitchen to at least approximate; the second is that, if you know how to cook in the first place, you can use Rochat's recipes as inspiration whether you follow them exactly or not. In order to enjoy asparagus with osetra caviar, for example, it isn't necessary to make your own cocktail sauce and pipe it around a rectangle of mousseline sauce thinned with asparagus water. It isn't even necessary to add the caviar. Precisely cooked asparagus with some of that asparagus mousseline drizzled over it would be quite a treat in itself. It's fun to try to emulate great chefs, but it's also fun to steal their ideas.

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