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LIFE IS A MENU by Michel Roux BOOK REVIEW

Some people are extremely talented. As one of the World's great Chefs Michel Roux is undoubtedly one of those people. It seems somewhat unfair then that he should also be an extremely talented writer.

This is an autobiography with a difference - it grabs your attention from the beginning and throughout shows you tantalising glimpses both of his culinary art and his life. Nothing stodgy about this narrative and, although it might be clichéd to say it, as light and delicate as you would expect from someone trained in the art of the patissier.

"Life is a Menu"Michel Roux introduces us to a very different world in which he grew up, a world which surprised me. As to why you will have to read the book. It is also a great insight into what it takes to achieve greatness as a Chef - extreme dedication and hard work. The book also shows the rewards that have come from that dedication and hard work - his career achievements, the people he has met and delighted with his food and the places he has been.

The style of the book, as suggested by the title "Life is a Menu", is laid out in chapters which deal with the component parts of the menu. Starting with Champagne and Canapés it goes into mouth-watering detail of the various foods and styles of cuisine from the time the young apprentice patissier, Michel Roux, started a long and distinguished career in 1956 to the present day. It is a revelation to discover how a Master Chef learnt his craft.

Along the way we get to meet different personalities, great Chefs in their own right like, Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros Brothers. Could you really have 'Truite fumée' for 75p or an entrée for £1.75 when Le Gavroche first opened in 1967 - pioneering days for the Roux Brothers in a land more used to processed peas and sliced bread!

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It is sprinkled throughout with anecdotes and culinary tips that appear seamlessly as part of the continuing narrative. It is a book I will treasure and read again, as well as use some of the recipes it contains!

Finishing the book was a great disappointment to me. Why? Because while reading I was living in the world of Michel Roux which for me was true escapism. I have experienced this before in fiction but never in a fact-based book - hopefully there will be more reminiscences to be published in the future.

Great Chef - great book!

If you want to order a copy of the book - click here

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