by Thomas Keller
(Artisan Books, $50)
Please don’t park this handsome hardcover on your coffee table—Thomas Keller, chef of the French Laundry and Ad Hoc in the Napa Valley and Per Se in Manhattan, wants it to live in your kitchen, growing smudged and splattered with use. This is real, uncomplicated home cooking based on the food served at Ad Hoc, Keller’s casual, family-style restaurant. He offers everything you could want: Nostalgic favorites like fried chicken and biscuits and grilled cheese sandwiches, to special-occasion roasts and braises, hearty soups, main-course salads, and lots of bright ideas that will make you a much smarter cook.