Written as a series of interconnected essays—with recipes—Relæ provides a rare glimpse into the mind of a top chef, and the opportunity to learn the language of one of the world’s most pioneering and acclaimed restaurants.
Chef Christian F. Puglisi opened restaurant Relæ in 2010 on a rough, run-down stretch of one of Copenhagen’s most crime-ridden streets. His goal was simple: to serve impeccable, intelligent, sustainable, and plant-centric food of the highest quality—in a setting that was devoid of the pretention and frills of conventional high-end restaurant dining. Relæ was an immediate hit, and Puglisi’s “to the bone” ethos—which emphasized innovative, substantive cooking over crisp white tablecloths or legions of water-pouring, napkin-folding waiters—became a rallying cry for chefs around the world. Today the Jægersborggade—where Relæ and its more casual sister restaurant, Manfreds, are located—is one of Copenhagen’s most vibrant and exciting streets. And Puglisi continues to excite and surprise diners with his genre-defying, wildly inventive cooking.
Relæ is Puglisi’s much-anticipated debut: like his restaurants, the book is honest, unconventional, and challenges our expectations of what a cookbook should be. Rather than focusing on recipes, the core of the book is a series of interconnected “idea essays,” which reveal the ingredients, practical techniques, and philosophies that inform Puglisi’s cooking. Each essay is connected to one (or many) of the dishes he serves, and readers are invited to flip through the book in whatever sequence inspires them—from idea to dish and back to idea again. The result is a deeply personal, utterly unique reading experience.
"On a tiny street in Copenhagen, Relae is casually overturning every convention of fine dining. With its naked oak tables, bistro-style service, and humble index of ingredients (you're more likely to eat cod skin than caviar), nothing about the setting speaks of exclusivity. And yet the restaurant is unmistakably among the finest in the world. Christian Puglisi is meticulous in his technique, rigorous in his thinking, and--even more impressive--humble in his delivery. The result is exactly what you see here: food that is artful, challenging, understated. This cookbook, like its namesake, is a delicious revolution."
-Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill and author of The Third Plate
"With this book, Christian Puglisi demonstrates why he's one of the most influential contemporary chefs in the world. Since Relae's inception, we've seen his ideas and aesthetics emulated in kitchens from New York to the very north of Sweden. Now we have the definitive document of his accomplishments, a book that shares his modern, daring, and singular concepts. An instant classic--and, dare I say, a masterpiece. "
--Rene Redzepi, chef of Noma and author of Rene Redzepi: A Work in Progress
Copenhagen chef Christian Puglisi turns the cookbook form inside out with his first cookbook. Named after his restaurant, Relae is more a series of philosophical essays than a standard cookbook (although it does have recipes). If you've got a restaurant aficionado on your list, this is the glossy chef book they'll want this year.