Thomas Keller, the culinary mastermind behind Per Se and The French Laundry, opens up about his childhood food preferences and his time in France in his latest book, “Bouchon Bakery.” As with his other four books, his latest effort is a collaboration. He co-wrote “Bouchon Bakery” (which is also the name of his chain of US pastry shops) with his top pastry chefs Sebastien Rouxel and Matthew McDonald along with food writers Susie Heller, Michael Ruhlman and Amy Vogler.
“If you look at my other cookbooks, it’s always been a point with me to share these opportunities with those who share their skills and expertise with the general public. That was the reason why I did the book,” Keller recently told Reuters. “Sebastien is one of the best pastry chefs in America. His techniques are unparalleled. I’m not trying to pretend that I’m a pastry chef by writing a book about baking and pastries. Nor am I trying to be a bread baker. I have Matthew McDonald, who is one of the best bakers in America. To be able to highlight his skills in the bread section was very important as well.”
In addition to providing recipes for Keller’s acclaimed TKOs and Oh Ohs (his take on Oreos and Hostess’s Ho Hos), the book highlights the French classics he fell in love while apprenticing in Paris: the baguettes, the macarons, the mille-feuilles and the tartes aux fruits. “When you are in France, especially in Paris, there were three or four boulangeries of different significance just on the block where I lived because they had pastry chefs with different levels of skills. You went to different ones for different things,” he recalls. “To have a fresh baked baguette everyday was extraordinary. Anyone who lived in Paris for any length of time would say eating a fresh baguette is pretty special. Bread plays a real important part in the experience of the diners. To make sure we have the opportunity to significantly impact the experience by controlling the production and style of the bread was very important to me.”