A few years ago, Suzi and I were on our first trip to London – yeah, we’d already been to Paris a dozen times – and we were humbled. London is huge, gorgeous and delicious.
We had lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, a buzzing culinary hotspot. It was a meal you don’t forget, cannot forget. As good as the food was, I was quite overwhelmed by the restaurant interior and service staff. Even the dust motes were polished. Perfection in everything, from every perspective.
The chef at Maze was Jason Atherton, who had worked at El Bulli before his stint with Ramsay. Between the two men, Ferran Adria and Ramsay, Jason was free to star and display skills few people ever master.
The recipes in this book come for Jason, who was unleashed by Ramsay.
There are just under sixty savory recipes in this book, followed by twenty-five desserts. The recipes are package in clusters of two or three: a lead recipe of distinction and then a couple of alternative ideas along the same line but still quite distinctive.
For example, one trio is:
Rack and braised shoulder of lamb ras el hanout [Moroccan!]
Warm couscous salad with lamb and ras el hanout [more Moroccan]
Braised shoulder of lamb hot pot [purely and perfectly British]
Or consider a dessert trio:
Warm vanilla rice pudding with raspberries and thyme
Chilled rice pudding with cherry soup
Champagne and raspberry gratin
These presentations let you into the mind of the chef. A wonderful initial idea triggers siblings that leave you wondering what to do. Here’s the solution: just declare one month to be a Maze Month and have one of these superior dishes each Sunday. In less than two years, you can work your way all the way through the book. It’s an idea that you should consider.
The main dishes span the repertoire you would expect. Central ingredients include: crab, lobster, asparagus, beets, Jerusalem artichokes, veal, duck eggs, Monkfish, tuna, red mullet, cod, salmon, sea bass, quail., chicken, lamb, venison and beef. Somewhere in this book, there is a recipe for your favorite food. Now, you can have a new favorite recipe using it!
Maze is gone, closed. But Maze lives on in the brilliant pages of this forever important book.