Mugaritz, the first English-language cookbook from Spanish chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, begins with an ending: "Mugaritz burnt in 2010." That fire, which destroyed the kitchen and twelve years of work in a mere two hours, was a devastating moment in the history of the San Sebastián restaurant, but it couldn't stop Mugaritz from becoming what it is today: number three on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
Aduriz's cookbook chronicles the restaurant both pre- and post-fire, and touches on pretty much everything one might ask from an Important Restaurant Cookbook: The story of the restaurant, from back in the day when they had so few customers they planted an herb garden because they "had nothing better to do," through the destruction wreaked by the fire, up until today. Huge glossy photos of the scenery and black and white action shots of the kitchen. Intros from French Laundry chef Thomas Keller and British food critic John Lanchester. There's flowery restaurant philosophizing alongside hard core charts describing the seasons of San Sebastián, Aduriz's recipe development process, and the time allocated for each part of the customer's meal.
And then, presented very simply, the recipes. About 75 plated dishes explained without much fuss in terms clearly meant for the professional, accompanied by a photograph of the finished dish. The photos have a striking sparseness, as though the food sits not on a plate but on the page itself. It's a neat trick; it's also very pretty.
Below, the video trailer for Mugaritz. The book comes out from Phaidon on May 27 (pre-order).
Video: Trailer For the Mugaritz Cookbook