Wells, who's been presenting French food to American home cooks for several years now, turns here from the comfortable informal fare she featured in Bistro Cooking (1989) to the upscale cooking of superstar chef Joâl Robuchon's three-star Paris restaurant, Jamin. She makes much of what she has learned from this kitchen wizard and emphasizes how important it is to follow his procedures and ingredient list in every detail, but she doesn't always practice this slavish obedience in her own ``translations'' of his dishes. As for the cuisine presented here, Robuchon holds to current principles on using only fresh ingredients and bringing out their inherent flavors—rather than mushing them together in old- style purÇes that he says were made for people who couldn't chew- -but he also uses plenty of old-fashioned butter, cream, and foie gras, as well as expensive truffles. For admirers of this synthesis style, Robuchon is king, and along with the recipes Wells passes on a number of his special techniques for bringing out the flavor in dishes both simple (roast chicken) and ``elegant'' (pheasant stuffed with foie gras and roasted on braised endive in a casserole sealed with pastry).
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