A French Master’s Magnum Opus Cookbook

Posted May 05, 2014

How Paul Bocuse's French Cooking changed chef John Folse's life.

The Chef: John Folse

The Book: Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking, by Paul Bocuse, 1977

“It’s the first cookbook that I ever got as a gift, from a woman from Alsace who I met when I was just striking out as a cook,” Folse says. “She had come to Louisiana after World War II. She was a fabulous French chef; her family owned a hotel in Alsace-Lorraine. She would eat at my restaurant, and gave me the book as a Christmas present. Back then, I knew very little about cooking. It opened whole worlds for me—braises, all of the classic French techniques. Thirty years later, that book is still on my kitchen table because it inspired me to look at books. It made me open the leaves and read and learn because I had no mentors at that time.”

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