Author(s): Jean-Pierre Moulle
This is a narratively rich cookbook of French and Californian recipes from longtime Chez Panisse executive chef Jean-Pierre Moulle and his wife, Denise Moulle. Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle met on a street corner in Berkeley, California, in 1980; six months later they were married. 'French Roots' is the story of their lives told through the food they cook - beginning with the dishes of old-world France, the couple's birthplace, and focusing on the simple, pared-down preparations of French food common in the postwar period. The story then travels to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s, where Jean-Pierre was appointed executive chef at Chez Panisse when California cuisine was just emerging as a distinctive and important style, and where Denise began importing French wine.
This book and its exquisite pictures bring back so many memories of the beautiful way Jean-Pierre and Denise cook and live. We had a dinner at their home in Peyraut that I will never forget: Eels freshly caught from the river, wrapped in bacon and grilled over the open fire, that was perfect in its simplicity. My time with them in France was a revelatory experience, and an extraordinary education. The Moulles' rich cultural heritage and unique sensibility are both thoughtfully captured in this book through their evocative stories, recipes, and images. Jean-Pierre has a rustic yet elegant style in the kitchen--a rare combination--and I have always admired the graceful way he approaches food. Whether he is effortlessly filleting a fish or boning a leg of lamb; assembling a beautiful, seasonal four-course menu, or preparing a special lunch for friends with a wild duck he hunted himself; cooking is second nature to him. This book is a delight to read, and perfectly captures the values that matter most: gathering with family and friends around the table and living attuned to the rhythms of the land with a deep respect for season and place." --Alice Waters, proprietor of Chez Panisse and author of The Art of Simple Food "That Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle curated such a stunning collection of recipes is an inevitability. That they managed to animate each recipe with feeling and memory is a supreme act of generosity. French Roots lovingly narrates the places, times, and tastes that shaped their marriage--it's a vivid reminder of the transcendence of good cooking." --Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns "Count yourself lucky to own this book, a collaboration by one of the most magical couples I know. My husband and I spent a week with them, and it was an inspiration to watch them in action, so relaxed and intuitive about food, wine, hospitality, and life." --Bette Midler
Until his retirement in April 2012, JEAN-PIERRE MOULLE was the executive chef at Chez Panisse, where he began working in 1975. DENISE MOULLE comes from the Bordeaux wine-making empire of the Lurton family. She worked as a wine distributor in California for many years before starting Two Bordelais in 1987, which offers guided tours through France.