Hardly any cookbook last year I have awaited with as much excitement as the new book by Tim Raue. Likewise, a visit to his Berlin restaurant is at the top of my culinary to-do list for 2013.
For a proud 75,- EUR you get with My Favorite Things. Berlin & Hong Kong an extremely coffeetable-worthy book in a linen cover, including slipcase and a total of a good 550 pages full of inspiration.
There’s been a persistent meme among digital designers and web developers for years, around the often “over-creative” design of architects’ websites. In short: the desire to express one’s creativity and individuality in other disciplines as well, but without really having the corresponding competence en detail. I felt reminded of this meme the first time I read through the book. Most recipes span four pages, starting with a photo on the first and one or two typographically highly customized sentences as an introduction to the dish. Of course, you can do it that way, yet it seems a bit awkward or improvised to me. However, it also gives the layout a high individual touch, which is of course extremely important in current cookbooks.
By the way, the many hundreds of photos, most of them fabulous, come from the camera of Luzia Ellert, who has recently illustrated pretty much all Ge(-important) German-language cookbooks. This is technically quite outstanding, and one also recognizes the clear request for a more individual visual language – but unfortunately this is not entirely successful throughout the entire book.
Leaving these minor criticisms aside and getting into the book itself, My Favorite Things knows well how to quickly unfold its appeal. Tim Raue takes the reader on his culinary journey between Berlin and Hong Kong and conveys the recipes very authentically and at the same time sometimes sounding temptingly simple. The separation of the respective dish and the associated basic recipes proves to be very practical, but of course also somewhat “trivializing”. But it is precisely these basics that make the difference – and which are, of course, regularly (pre-)produced in the professional kitchen. Likewise, of course, not every amateur chef will have access to sous-vide or Pacojet equipment. On the other hand, there are also numerous fish and meat dishes that achieve their special expression by using sauces from the Asian store, which are of course easy to buy and use – if you know how. And it is precisely this spectrum that makes the book so fascinating. This clear, results-focused way of working is sure to be reflected in the same way in Tim Raue’s kitchen. Because it is precisely there that the more complex dishes can certainly be eaten at their very best.
A fabulous book, individual and not least by the listed smaller quirks pleasantly off the mainstream, while it makes not only the recipes, but also the restaurant Tim Raue and the discovery of the flavors, pleasures and smells from the kitchens between Berlin and Hong Kong desire.