Cookbook cover of Secrets from the La Varenne Kitchen by Anne Willan

SECRETS FROM THE LA VARENNE KITCHEN: 50 Essential Recipes Every Cook Needs to Know

Anne Willan

Spring House Press
March 2015
$17.95/trade paperback
ISBN: 978-1940611150

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A culinary icon who helped shape today’s modern food world, Anne Willan founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris in 1975. She taught tens of thousands more how to cook through her PBS program, her Look & Cook book series, and her influential encyclopedia on food and cooking, La Varenne Pratique. For her body of work and contributions to the culinary world, she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame. She currently lives in Santa Monica, CA and in France.

When Anne Willan founded La Varenne Cooking School in Paris, students were provided a helpful reference booklet: a compilation of the 50 basic recipes they were expected to master as part of their course. Now, forty years later, these foundation recipes from the La Varenne curriculum remain just as timeless and reliable.

Never before available outside the walls of La Varenne, SECRETS FROM THE LA VARENNE KITCHEN is an essential toolkit to fashion professional excellence in any kitchen. It is not a book of finished dishes, but a treasure-trove of fundamental stock, sauce, and pastry recipes that make up a dish. SECRETS FROM THE LA VARENNE KITCHEN is a practical book for practical cooks and is an indispensable addition to the bookshelf of any cooking enthusiast, culinary student, or professional chef.

Brown Veal Stock

Makes 2-3 quarts stock

4-5 pounds of veal bones, cracked or cut in small pieces
2 onions, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 large bouquet garni
10 peppercorns
1 head garlic, split, with skin on
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3-4 quarts water

Brown veal stock is used for brown sauces and for rich ragouts and braised dishes.

Fond Brun de Veau

Rendement: 2-3 litres de fond

Pot and Hands
2 kg d’os de veau, concassés
2 oignons, coupés en quartiers
2 carottes, coupées en quartiers
2 branches de céleri, coupées en morceaux de 5 cm
1 gros bouquet garni
10 grains de poivre 1 tête d’ail non épluchée, coupée en deux
1 cuiller à soupe de concentré de tomate
3-4 litres d’eau

Le fond brun de veau est destiné à mouiller des sauces brunes, des ragoûts riches, et des braises.


Hollandaise Sauce

Makes 1 cup sauce


Serve with poached fish, vegetables and eggs.

3/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks
Salt and white pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste

Melt butter and let cool to tepid. In a small saucepan, whisk water, egg yolks, salt and pepper for 30 seconds, until light. Set over low heat and whisk constantly until mixture is creamy and the whisk leaves a trail on base of pan. Pan base should never be more than hand-hot.

Off the heat, whisk in tepid butter, a few drops at a time.

NOTE: Do not add butter too fast or sauce may curdle. When sauce starts to thicken, add butter a little faster; do not add milky sediment at bottom of butter. Stir in lemon juice and taste for seasoning.

Hollandaise is served warm, not hot, and can be kept warm in a water bath. If too hot, it curdles.

Sauce Hollandaise

Rendement: 2.5 dl de sauce environ

180 g de beurre
3 cuillers à soupe d’eau
3 jaunes d’oeufs
Sel et poivre blanc
Le jus d’un ó citron, ou selon gout


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from SECRETS FROM THE LA VARENNE KITCHEN by Anne Willan. (Spring House Press; March 2015; $17.95/trade paperback; ISBN; 978-1940611150).

Contact: Paul McGahren