Cook it Raw


It's hard to categorise this book, because it's unique. There are a few (very few) recipes in Cook it Raw and plenty of gorgeous photos of food, but it's more of a treatise covering a range of subjects, including environmental issues, culinary responsibility, collaboration and the brotherhood of chefs (women don't feature). It documents how 25 chefs from around the world gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, to hunt and forage for ingredients, before preparing a meal with the spoils using zero energy.

It's fascinating to see the thought processes involved in the event (which takes place annually in different countries and is by invitation only). The participants represent top restaurants and include Albert Adria (of the now-closed El Bulli, who runs Tickets in Barcelona), Rene Redzepi, of Noma, in Copenhagen, David Chang, of Momofuku, in New York, Yoshihiro Narisawa, of Les Créations de Narisawa, Tokyo, Pascal Barbot, of L'Astrance, Paris, and Alex Atala, of D.O.M, in Sao Paulo.

There are plenty of behind-the-scenes photos of the chefs as they forage, hunt and fish. It's not for the squeamish - there are images of fish and reindeer being gutted. But there are also plenty featuring the beautiful Danish countryside.

The recipes are not for the average cook. Daniel Patterson (of Coi, in San Francisco) gives one that includes these instructions: "Build a fire … Throw a bunch of beets on the floor of the fireplace … move [them] around every 20 minutes until tender, about six hours … Kill a reindeer. Save the blood." Barbot's recipe for artichaut epineux, truffe et pomelo, noix-parmesan calls for 55 Italian artichokes, 500 grams of black truffles, two litres of Italian olive oil and 500 grams of parmesan.