Cooking at the Dirty Bird
Ten Speed Press, Hardcover, 9781607744443, 341pp.
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Dining at Le Pigeon is a celebration of high and low extremes in cooking: Buffalo hot wings are elevated with the substitution of sweetbreads, a simple potato salad gets "dirty" with the addition of chicken livers, and a $3 Coors appears next to premier cru Burgundies on the wine list. Serious yet playful, this debut cookbook recounts the ascension of James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker to the top of the Portland food scene and the shift of a modest neighborhood eatery to a must-visit destination. Offal-centric and meat-heavy, but by no means dogmatic, this collection of 125 recipes offers uncommon delicacies like Elk Tongue Stroganoff and Rabbit and Eel Terrine, envelope-pushing twists on classics like Beef Cheeks Bourguinon and Lamb Belly BLT, and surprisingly uncomplicated dishes like Simple Roasted Pigeon, Leek Carbonara, and Pork Tacos.
Featuring wine recommendations from sommelier Andrew Fortgang, stand-out desserts from pastry chef Lauren Fortgang, and stories about the restaurant's raucous, seat-of-the-pants history by writer Meredith Erickson, "Le Pigeon" combines the wild and the refined in a unique, progressive, and delicious style.
Lauren Fortgang, a graduate of Fordham University's Theater Program, is an actress, narrator, and costume designer. She has recorded everything from video games to textbooks. Her audiobook narrations have earned two AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed her as a finalist for an Audie Award in 2014.
“Not many books have gotten my juices going as much as Le Pigeon; it’s a proper joy.”
—Fergus Henderson, founder of St. John restaurant and author of Nose to Tail Eating
"I’d heard nothing about this Portland, Oregon institution until the book landed on my desk and utterly awed me. The young chefs draw influence from the Fergus Henderson nose-to-tail school but introduce a whole layer of iconoclastic hipster inspiration. When reading the contents makes you salivate, you know you have a winner."
Tim Hayward, "Best books of 2013" Financial Times
“I absolutely love this book! A behind-the-scenes look at Portland’s beloved Le Pigeon restaurant, it’s fun, quirky, and delicious. With Gabriel Rucker guiding you through these beautiful recipes, you can’t go wrong.”
—April Bloomfield, chef-owner of The Spotted Pig and author of A Girl and Her Pig
“Gabriel once said to me, ‘We’re just trying to find new ways to get people to eat lots of butter,’ revealing his irreverent and over-the-top attitude to cooking (see his recipe for Bacon Butter, page 42) and life. What arrives on the plate at Le Pigeon is incredibly well thought out, sophisticated, and delicious. This is a remarkable collection of recipes and stories from one of the most hard-working and dedicated chefs I know, and his merry band of compatriots.”
—Andy Ricker, chef-owner of Pok Pok
“Gabriel Rucker, one of the hottest of the hot rock star chefs, has the humility to pay homage to the pillars of Portland’s dining scene and the brass to ‘Le Pigeonize’ every dish he cooks with his own high-spirited sensibility. Whether he’s dolloping oyster mayo on a hanger steak or turning lamb belly into a BLT, Rucker’s boisterous but disciplined cooking will both surprise you and charm the hell out of you.”
—Tom Douglas, owner of Tom Douglas Restaurants
“At Le Pigeon, Gabriel Rucker has the opportunity to cook in Oregon—a very soulful region where food and wine are in harmony with the terroir. His cuisine is all about balance, with a dash of American nostalgia. He gets it.”
—Daniel Boulud, chef-owner of Daniel