Chef Peter Gilmore's favorite cookbook

 cookbook collage

The number of chefs turned cookbook authors continues to grow, allowing those of us who cannot visit their famed restaurants to get a glimpse of the foods on offer, and providing us with new ideas and techniques to liven up our own cooking. Even the world's top chefs were beginners once, and finding out which cookbooks they studied early in their careers can be revealing. That's why Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine has started a new series on the favorite cookbooks of top chefs

The first chef the magazine profiles is Peter Gilmore, chef at Sydney restaurants Quay and Bennelong. Gilmore has created some of Australia's most iconic dishes (such as the snow egg, which he recently retired from the Quay menu). He chose Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook, published in 1999, as his favorite.

Gilmore explains how he first became acquainted with the book: "I was a young, recently qualified chef and I was looking around Chefs' Warehouse when I saw it. It was a new release then. It was the first cookbook where I got really excited by the chef and his philosophy." The chef notes that at the time of the book's release, it wasn't as easy to learn about other chefs' restaurants and creations. The internet was not yet a repository for all things food, and a "chef's cookbook was a window into a whole philosophy and cuisine; a book really was a calling card," explains Gilmore. 

For those of us who purchase cookbooks but don't immediately cook from all of them, we can rest assured that we are in good company. Chef Gilmore confesses that he did not cook much from The French Laundry Cookbook, but rather used it as inspiration. His takeaways from the book were more than just recipes, he embraced much of Chef Keller's philosophy, especially when it came to sourcing ingredients. 

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