Those familiar with Thomas Keller, the famed chef of the French Laundry in Yountville, would expect a cookbook he authored to require its users be quite savvy in the kitchen, with perhaps, years of cooking experience. However, with Ad Hoc at Home, Keller offers us a collection of much more accessible recipes, ones which could actually serve quite nicely for causal gatherings of family and friends. Granted, the book is not aimed at the total novice, but enthusiasts will appreciate the fanciful nature of the recipes as well as Keller’s whimsical delivery of them.

The book assumes far less prerequisite knowledge than his other cookbooks The French Laundry, Bouchon, and Under Pressure. In fact, the first section of the book is called “Becoming a better chef,” and Keller outlines the techniques, ingredients, and tools that can help anyone become a better home cook. Keller’s “Basics” section, at the back of the book, is fantastic, providing you with just about every key base for meals.

Brilliant full-color photographs and detail step-by-step lessons provide plenty of support, so fans of Keller can move a bit closer towards understanding his culinary prowess.

The recipes we sampled, including the grilled cheeses sandwiches, the leek bread pudding, the scallion potato cakes, and the fresh tuna salad were all quite excellent. Fans of Keller’s restaurants, or simply fans of delicious and fun to prepare dishes, ought to add Ad Hoc at Home to their collection.