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'French Laundry Cookbook' takes top honors
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (CNN) -- A book the author said took a lifetime to write won the top award at this year's International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook awards.
"The French Laundry Cookbook"(Artisan) by Thomas Keller, the chef/proprietor of the restaurant by the same name in California's Napa Valley, is no small read. The $50 large square-paged book contains 150 recipes and full page color photos. It goes beyond recipes to tell the history of the restaurant and the historic building in which it resides.
"It's a lifelong experience," Keller said in an interview. "A book should be inspiring, it should have a certain amount of legacy to it. This is it, this is the book I wanted to write."
Keller, who won the James Beard Award for Outstanding American Chef in 1997, has become known for his menu of many small flavorful courses. The book contains recipes from some of his signature dishes, including "Cornets" of crispy tiny cones topped with a filling such as salmon tartare or "Oysters and Pearls," oysters resting in a bed of tapioca custard.
The book also won for best first book by an author and received a special award for its layout and design.
Julia, Jacques share award
"Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home,"(Knopf) a book by longtime friends and TV chefs Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, won in the best general book category.
The cookbook features a friendly banter between the two chefs as they each give and discuss their home techniques for preparing shrimp, roasting a turkey or firming a custard.
The book opens with a discussion of oysters -- Pepin pries open a shell with a specialized knife while Child prefers to pop it apart with a beer can opener.
The book and accompanying television series were inspired by a public television fund-raiser in which the two chefs improvised recipes together.
"Although we have the same general French background, we gave our own ways of doing things," Child said.
The recipes come from 22 public televisions shows taped over two and a half weeks without a script or clearly planned recipes. A writer recorded the improvised recipes as they were created by Child and Pepin.
The IACP Cookbook Awards (formerly known as the Julia Child Cookbook Awards), established to promote and recognize cookbook writing and culinary literature, have been presented annually since 1986.
Chefs learn recipe for TV success
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