Michael Stadtländer never does things conventionally. To prove it, the iconoclastic chef has just released his very first book. Titled The Heaven On Earth Project , it's not the cookbook that most of his devout following have been anticipating.
"That's for sure," says the German-born culinary wunderkind on the line from the 100-acre Collingwood resto farm he operates with partner Nobuyo Stadtländer. "I've been approached by publishers to write one before, but I've never been in that state of mind."
So the couple has self-published Project, a slim 96-page tome that chronicles the building of an interactive sculpture garden on their property last summer.
Once the garden was completed with the help of an international team of kitchen apprentices, Stadtländer hosted a series of 10-course al fresco dinners at the organic retreat during last August's brutal heat wave. A film crew recorded the events for an upcoming documentary.
"I hate writing recipes," Stadtländer says of the dozen or so included in the $90 book and $700 limited edition of 100. "Today, I'm having ideas about pickling squash in cranberry juice and maple syrup. The recipes just happen."
Stadtländer launches Project next Wednesday (December 7) with a bash from 7 to 9 pm in the Hotel Continental 's Willard Room (220 Bloor West, at Bedford). Copies are then available at the Cookbook Store (850 Yonge, at Yorkville, 416-920-2665), Pantry Press (103 Roncesvalles, at Pearson, 416-537-9977) and from Eigensinn Farm (519-922-3128).