This blogpost about me testing some Dukan diet dessert recipes from the book “The Dukan Diet Desserts and Patisseries” is one of the most popular posts on the blog. I wrote it in 2011. Back then I was basically saying that all the recipes I tested didn’t look somewhat similar to the gorgeous photos in the book.
The book doesn’t seem to have been translated into English yet. I’m not surprised the book hasn’t been published in English-speaking countries, although all the other Dukan diet books do sell pretty well. Here’s why: the book’s photos are fake, and the book generated a pretty negative buzz on the French market.
First, let me explain how they put the book together: the recipes were taken from the Internet: the Dukan team just selected recipes from personal blogs of people following the diet. The bloggers didn’t get any credits or financial compensation. The blogging community around the Dukan diet is briefly mentioned in the book’s foreword. However, Dr Dukan doesn’t mention any particular name, links or anything beside his own website.
A food stylist was responsible for baking, styling and photographing the selected recipes. It turned out that she couldn’t make great pictures with the actual recipes. Many recipes just couldn’t give great looking results, even after numerous attempts. She said the results were catastrophic, both in taste and appearance.
After a quick consultation with the Dukan team, the Dukan team advised her to add ‘classic ingredients’ (sugar, flour, etc.) to be able to make pictures that look like normal pastries.
At this time, the food stylist told Dr. Dukan about her worries of having to alter the actual recipes to be able to take good photos. Dr. Dukan responded that it was okay to deviate from the actual recipes just to make great pictures. The book was more about selling the idea of low-calorie baking and inspiring people.
When the book came out, people began trying the recipes, and the complaints started flowing on the Internet in various forums, comments or websites.
Of course I understand that food stylists often make recipes look better than they actually are in any cookbook -it’s their job after all! But there is a fine line between making things look better than they really are and lying to the customers. The point here is that the food stylist had to change the actual ingredients of the recipes written in the book! The book’s illustrations are consequently basically a big lie. I now feel better about my disastrous results!
French article about the controversy: http://leplus.nouvelobs.com/contribution/228883-la-patisserie-dukan-avec-des-photos-truquees-le-medecin-veut-vendre-du-reve.html