New Thomas Keller and Hiro Sone Books

Thomas Keller's new book due to be released this fall

Molecular gastronomy fans will be glad to know that Thomas Keller’s long-awaited new cookbook on sous vide cooking will be published by Artisan in November. It will feature an introduction by San Francisco author and noted food scientist, Harold McGee.

“Under Pressure,” though geared for the professional cook, no doubt will provide a fascinating look at this technique that’s now widely used by top restaurants around the world. In sous vide, food is vaccum-sealed in a bag, then cooked in water at a precise temperature below simmering to seal in flavors and juices.

Thomas KellerAlthough Keller of French Laundry fame had hoped to market a vaccum-seal system for the home, he now says that’s unlikely because the device would be too large and cumbersome for most home kitchens. Instead, he may market an immersion circulation system that would allow for more precise sous vide cooking at home.

Fellow chef Hiro Sone, of Terra in St. Helena and Ame in San Francisco, also is hard at work on a new cookbook with his wife and trained pastry chef, Lissa Doumani. His last book, “Terra: Cooking from the Heart Of Napa Valley,” was published seven years ago.

Hiro SoneSone was coy when asked what the new book would be about. He would only say that it would include some recipes, his philosophy about cooking, and “lots of umami” (the fifth flavor, often described as “savory”).

Sone also said he’d love to open a third restaurant. But he’d like his new place to be more casual in contrast to his two fine-dining spots. He wants it to be more like an izakaya, a Japanese bar that serves small plates.

“I hate to dress up,” Sone said with a laugh. “I hate ties. If I wear one, I cannot enjoy the food. I want to be comfortable when I eat.”

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  • What are we looking like in that first photo, Carolyn? It almost looks like lipsticks standing at attention. I’m actually eating at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in NY on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll have my first sous vide experience there. (I know Dan Barber uses that technique, too.)

  • Oooh, lucky you, Cheryl. Yes, Dan Barber does quite a bit of sous vide cooking there. And he grows all the produce in the magnificient gardens there. I hope you’ll give us all a full report when you get back.

    Since I’m not lucky enough to have an advance galley of the “Under Pressure” book, I am not sure what is exactly on the cover. I’m taking a totally wild guess here, but could it be rhubarb being cooked sous vide?? Anyone else? Any guesses?

  • Yep, it’s rhubarb, being compressed. And while it’s a very pretty picture, it’s also an important message right on the cover. Most people, when thinking of sous-vide cooking, immediate think of proteins….36h short ribs, med-rare steaks and what not. However, there is a great deal of possibility beyond meats, and I’m happy to see TK hint at that kind of coverage right on the cover of the book.

    Also, it’s likely that you’ve had a sous-vide dining experience without even knowing it. If you’ve ever had pork at the fast food chain Chipotle…it was cooked sous-vide. Many other restaurants all over the country make use of the technique as well…and at some of the best places, you don’t even notice. That’s what makes for great food…when your first bite just tells you “this is delicious” rather than, “this tastes like sous-vide”

  • Good point on the veggies. In fact, at the recent Umami symposium, Keller served lamb that was cooked sous-vide. Also, the sweet, super tender fennel on the same plate also was cooked sous-vide.

    That’s a very important point about Chipotle, too. So many of the so-called “chemicals” used for molecular gastronomy are made from natural substances that have already been used for years in the processed and fast-food industries as a way to cook ingredients in large volumes without losing so much flavor and to improve texture.

    Thanks for enlightening us all, AJ.

  • I thought that those portrait background looked familiar! I too attended the umami symposium…you might remember me as the person who asked TK about his “alums” moving towards scientifically informed cuisine while he makes a conscious effort to focus on dishes from a more traditional point of view.

    In any case, there are so many new possibilities with modern cooking techniques…it will be interesting to see what becomes permanently incorporated into our cooking vocabulary vs. what fades away as just another trend based on novelty. In my mind sous-vide is a good candidate for the former.

  • Ahah! I do remember you asking that question. What a small world.

    It WILL be interesting to see if the trends of today become the traditions of tomorrow. It’s exciting to be at the forefront to watch it all happen.

  • Check out to purchase the same equipment Thomas Keller uses to cook Sous vide.

  • Check out to purchase the same equipment Thomas Keller uses to cook Sous vide. —> typo in the first link sorry

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