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The French Laundry Cookbook

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,826 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley—“the most exciting place to eat in the United States” (The New York Times). The most transformative cookbook of the century celebrates this milestone by showcasing the genius of chef/proprietor Thomas Keller himself. Keller is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting i ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Artisan
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Community Reviews

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Apr 09, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
I've gone over this book a million times.I met Chef Keller at his restaurant,he gave me a tour of his kitchen.There are a lot of things in here that just blow your mind,but inspire you to think of food in a different way,There is also a lot of autobiographical information in here.Keller doesn't have the typical background of most big name chefs,working for all the big names in Paris,New York or San Francisco.He is self taught,which makes his food so different. He talks about how he decided to le ...more
Dec 01, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
Food porn at its best. While I most often love what has historically been "poor people food" (think pot roast, chicken pot pie, dishes cooked slowly and for a long, long time...Southern American and French provincial cuisines), I am also totally in love with food as art. In French Laundry, Keller documents the art that is created at his restaurant every day. Many of the recipes are not simple (a total of 28 pages dedicated to lobster mac and cheese and all the sub-recipes necessary), but if are ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
The French Laundry is probably the only place I would work for free. Had to put that in there in case Thomas Keller reads my Goodreads reviews.

A truly inspirational book by a brilliant chef that isn't a douche bag. Few cookbooks fill me with jealousy like this one because I didn't think of the recipes.

If you are serious about food, get this book. If you are kind of new to cooking, or are just "okay" at it, making some stuff in this book will really challenge you and help push you to the next l
Mar 16, 2007 titi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kitchenaid
French Laundry, bar none, is the best restaurant in U.S of A. and this book substantiates that. Executing the recipes with success is what must mountain climbers feel after conquering Mr. Everest, or if you were a Catholic, like my mom, kissing the Pope's ring, or if you were my dad, sleeping with Sophia Loren. It is pure heaven. And the photography is delicious.
Rafal Cebula
Jan 13, 2016 Rafal Cebula rated it it was amazing
As much a cookbook as a manifesto and cornerstone of an entire movement in food and cooking.

I think one of the best ways to talk about this book is that it is essentially the antithesis of 30 minute meals. Now I am a fan of Rachel Ray and her work so do not take this as a negative. Keller takes an almost Buddhist approach to cooking. From mindfulness of your ingredients (whether they be ideally sourced or not) to an unabashed focus while cooking, Keller advocates enjoying the process rather than
Tony Q.
Sep 05, 2007 Tony Q. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: advanced cooks
As my cousin calls it, this beautiful book is "Food Porn"
Jan 19, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
A visual, oral orgasm. And, the book that, through a single turn of the page, sparked my love affair with the mandoline slicer.

No cookbook has made labored cooking look so effortless, presentation so luxurious and the history of sourcing materials so intriguing. This books tells the stories of the FL's high quality suppliers, the crafting of recipes and leaves you with the idea that yes - you can bring that $500 dinner in Yontville, down the street from Ad Hoc and Bouchon, home to you.
Feb 06, 2010 Autumn rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks, food
Too spectacular to actually cook from, but more accessible than Adria's book. Also contains an icky story about killing rabbits that could have come from Possum Living. French chefs, you gross me out with your desire for veal, offal and bunnies.
Mar 06, 2009 Summer rated it really liked it
I like this cookbook, a lot. However, it is not practical for me to make a good majority of these foods. Eating them and loving them is another matter! :)
Oct 20, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lauren by: My boss
Shelves: cookbooks
As I'm a chef in training, my boss let me borrow his worn out, marked up, beaten down copy of The French Laundry Cookbook to further my knowledge in the kitchen. It's his favorite book.

The first thing that stood out to me, aside from the beautiful photos, were Thomas Kellers words. This isn't just a cookbook or a sort of biography, this is a way of life. Right of the bat, I can take one of his quotes on cooking and use the advice given for my real life, everyday problems. He wrote, "I can tell
Robert Wright
Dec 11, 2012 Robert Wright rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking
Yes, this book has many mouthwatering recipes, but it is far from a "cookbook." It is a grand celebration of haute cuisine.

The chef's protests to the contrary, it will take more than passion to accomplish an approximation of the recipes outlined in this book. What you need is here if you dare to try. But you'll also need a large bank account for ingredients and equipment, access to them, and time on your hands. This a chef for whom only the finest will do, and woe betide the home cook, no matter
Jun 27, 2012 Robyn rated it liked it
My 3-star review might be a little bit unfair. The French Laundry Cookbook is a 5-star version of what it is. But what it is, is not something I find useful.

This is more than just a cookbook, which is important because most home cooks are never going to make many/any of the recipes contained inside. Two examples: 1) a cheese dish with 16 ingredients and instructions to begin one component 5 days in advance. 2) an entree with 42 ingredients, 6 of which require cross-reference to their own separa
Oct 14, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking-food
I'm no chef fan girl. With one exception: Thomas Keller. Eating at The French Laundry is on my bucket list, and this book was the perfect taste of what I hope my future one day holds. This cookbook is part cookbook part education lesson. Keller, Ruhlman, and others write beautiful descriptions about how certain foods are collected and follow it with gorgeous descriptions of each recipe. The recipes are incredibly detailed so that even as a home cook, you can feel comfortable attempting one or tw ...more
Jan 03, 2009 Becky added it
OK-This is the most sophisticated cookbook I have ever read. If you know me at all, you probably know that I am not timid about trying something new or labor-intensive. However, these recipes had me sweating and I was just sitting in a chair!

I first learned about this book in September. (Actually someone on this site recommended it.) I have waited since then to buy it as a Christmas gift for myself.

So, tomorrow I am going to venture out and try the shrimp with avocado salsa-undoubtedly the sim
John Caron
Feb 23, 2014 John Caron rated it really liked it
A celebration of a master chef's virtuosity worthy of five stars. You can admire his skill and innovation but these are not recipes to be tried at home, hence the four stars.
Gina Burrell
Dec 30, 2014 Gina Burrell rated it it was amazing
It's a great read. The recipes are fabulous, but require many steps. You need patience, but the food is delicious, and by the way, he is a charming, humble man.
Alison P
May 14, 2016 Alison P rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
lovely illustrations, regular ingredients

recipes i would like to try:
Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche
Gruyere Cheese Gougeres
Curry Oil
Aug 26, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it
A great cook book to appreciate what it takes to prepare a high level of cuisine. Complicated preparations, but Keller never apologizes for this and even states it up front: this is not a cookbook for shortcuts and home cooks in a hurry. Enough detail is in the recipes for anyone to tackle the dishes, but recommended for people who have the basics down. Some AMAZING tips that I haven't read elsewhere. Also the ability to make parts of the recipes even if you're not adventurous enough to go all t ...more
Jan 28, 2014 julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
an inspiring read. i got it from the library after making a version of the truffle egg custards for new year's. i felt a bit intimidated by it, but it's so beautifully done and full of love for food that you can really only be inspired.
Aug 30, 2010 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking
Wow - what a journey. I'll confess I focused on the stor(ies) and not so much on the individual recipes. But I could see from the stories and those few that I did read through that Chef Keller is a man obsessed with detail - and in this case it's not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps a bad comparison - but I'd liken him to George Surat (the pointilist painter).

In Chef Kellers world the portions are small, but each bite is a revelation to be savored -- in which case just a few bites are enough and
Nov 02, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
It's all about using offal. Or in this case, a pigs head and feet. Head first. Ok, here we go!!
John Millard
Oct 03, 2015 John Millard rated it it was amazing
Amy's book which is signed by the chef Thomas Keller and inscribed for her Birthday. First edition.
Geo Vittoratos
Sep 13, 2014 Geo Vittoratos rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I can't afford to eat there but I can afford to read about it.
Jul 17, 2014 Laurel rated it it was amazing
It is food porn
Jennifer Peelor
Aug 07, 2015 Jennifer Peelor rated it really liked it
wonderful recipes. Now I wanted to eat there more than even. The gardens are sinfully beautiful and makes me strive for a more beautiful kitchen garden. Can't wait to see them in person.
Feb 14, 2008 Ginny rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This is intense cooking. Keller is a maniac with the details and the complicated recipes. I would love to dine in one of his restaurants. But, the recipes are not for the faint of heart. I've done about 5 recipes - each was complicated, time consuming, and upped my knowledge of cooking. For the amount of work I would have wished each recipe was a knockout. Most were great (3) one was good, one was never do again. Not sure it was worth the immense effort.
Feb 01, 2012 Faith rated it really liked it
Shelves: crafts-food
I'm wavering between 3.5/4 stars so I'll go generous. The upside is that the pictures are divine and these dishes look absolutely fabulous. I feel hungry and excited just by browsing the pages. It's a big, hefty book that is not afraid to be awe-inspiring.

The downside is that most of the recipes here require a lot of work, equipment and ingredients to pull off. But I still give many points for sheer inspiration.
Oct 17, 2010 Joanne rated it it was ok
I know that if I have a recipe that has a recipe for the ingredients in the first recipe that I am in for a recipe for disaster. Beautiful pictures and fabulous food that I will likley never eat. I do plan on making the apple kuchen recipe at the end - all the ingredients are available at my local supermarket, unlike most of the others in the book.
Aug 21, 2007 Brianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
BEAUTIFUL and even more inspiring after reading either the Soul of a Chef or the Making of a Chef (can't remember which)... but my point is that one of them goes into the whole story behind The French Laundry and its creator/chef, Thomas Keller and it makes you want to drop everything and fly out there to spend your entire life savings on a single meal
Aug 31, 2013 Dan rated it liked it
An interesting insight into the history and thought processes of this famed chef. The recipes are, not surprisingly, quite complicated for the most part, though he makes the point at the beginning that that's the case and recommends picking and choosing components - fine for experienced cooks, probably a bit overwhelming for many less experienced.
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Thomas Keller is an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer. He and his landmark Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, have won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, notably the Best California Chef in 1996, and the Best Chef in America in 1997. The restaurant is a perennial winner in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants ...more
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“Cooking is not about convenience and it's not about shortcuts. Our hunger for the twenty-minute gourmet meal, for one-pot ease and prewashed, precut ingredients has severed our lifeline to the satisfactions of cooking. Take your time. Take a long time. Move slowly and deliberately and with great attention.” 19 likes
“When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about.” 9 likes
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