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The cookbook tends to be a staid medium, but a trio of new offerings in France has punched up the format with the sort of visual panache usually reserved for coffee-table fare.

For his new opus, “Infiniment,” pastry chef Pierre Hermé tapped Ich&Kar, a graphic design duo, and photographer Jean-Jacques Pallot to turn his 100-recipe book into a mouthwatering work of art. The sculptural layouts and Hermé’s fantasy recipes — such as his spaghettini cooked in strawberry juice, mascarpone cream, mashed strawberries and strawberry sherbets — show how his creativity and imagination keep evolving.

This story first appeared in the December 21, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Photographer Danièla Jérémijévic’s book “Gastronomik” is also unorthodox and visually arresting. She asked 20 Paris-based chefs to deliver recipes inspired by an iconic character. For instance, Thierry Burlot from Zebra Square restaurant chose Joan of Arc for his interpretation of flambé lobster, and Stéphane Jégo, chef owner of Chez l’Ami Jean, delivered a “four seasons rabbit” recipe à la “Alice in Wonderland.” Each recipe consists of two photographs and a list of ingredients, with the cooking instructions woven into creative storytelling.

“I wanted to do a fun and glamorous recipe book,” Jérémijévic explained.

Three-star chef Alain Passard’s first cookbook aimed at adults (his first was for children) is quieter, yet still charming. The Breton chef was the first French chef to give up cooking meat at his L’Arpège restaurant in Paris. Also a passionate painter, Passard decorates “Alain Passard Collages & Recettes,” a collection of 48 vegetable recipes, with his own collages.

“I like to create a dish according to the colors which will compose it,” he says. “Like a florist who will make a bouquet, adding yellow, green, et cetera.”

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