Last night, at the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Award Ceremony in San Francisco, the Judges’ Award went to Chef Laurent Gras for his ground-breaking new ebook: My Provence. Congratulations to Chef Laurent Gras for winning this prestigous award!
Why is the ebook/cookbook groundbreaking? It is a cookbook designed for the tablet or iPad, although I bought mine and viewed it on my computer and you can view it on your smart phone. It also introduces a new business model. You pay $4.99 in three installments that are charged to your credit card every four months, and receive recipes in every installment delivered to you digitally in the form of an ebook. It uses multi-media, including words, photographs and video.
This is how it works. If you want to buy it, you log on to the Alta Editions web site, put in your payment information, and then you are taken to your ebook. If you are on a tablet, flip through the pages. If you are on a computer, click through.
When you first open the cover and are brought to the title page, there is a small video embeded for you to watch Chef Gras introduce himself.
Is this the future of cookbooks? Undoubtedly, as there will be great convenience and lower price points for the consumer to be able to cook from their iPad propped up on their kitchen counter. For those who prefer a cookbook in hand, especially if it is a joy to read as well as cook from, print books will be preferred.
Having lived on the Riviera for over 11 years, and with a cookbook of my own coming out in August (Cuisine Nicoise: Sun-Kissed Cooking from the French Riviera, Gibbs Smith), I was very interested in seeing another cookbook that also embraced cooking on the Riviera---as Chef Gras was brought up there, in Antibes.
I chose to write my cookbook about the style of cooking found on the Riviera and emanating from Nice. It's called cuisine Nicoise. Chef Gras casts a wider net to include all of Provencal cooking, from his childhood home in Antibes westward to Toulon and deep into Provence, where his family owned property.
In My Provence, he brings together an interesting mix of family recipes, along with elegant, restaurant level recipes from his professional career. Each recipe has a long headnote explaining the food and its origin and is accompanied with a photograph to show how it should look on the plate.
At the very end of the ebook there is an index of short instructional videos, which I would have loved to have seen embedded within the recipes they describe rather than having to click to the end of the book to view them. My only other aside is that some recipes seemed out of place for a cookbook about Provencal cuisine: Chicken Milanese with Pickled Cucumber, Riesling-Poached Pears. Having said that, I was delighted with the breadth and types of recipes and with Chef Gras' openess to including recipes that are a culmination of his entire cooking life, including the time he spent cooking in Italy. We are a sum of our cooking environment and experience, and that shines through in this ebook cookbook.
The first recipe I am going to try is Chef Gras' Olive Oil Cake. Judging by the photo, it looks divine.
My Provence by Laurent Gras can be viewed and purchased on: AltaEditions.com