'I figure there are only so many meals you are going to get to eat in your life,' says chef Tom Kerridge, 'so they might as well be as brilliant as you can make them!'
And this just about sums up this book from the British chef who, in 2005, with his wife Beth opened the Hand & Flowers which went on to become the first pub in Britain to win two Michelin stars. In 2014 he opened The Coach, his second pub, and now he is a well-known TV chef and appears regularly in many food and cooking series.
The recipes in this book are not his show-pieces, no 'cheffy techniques' as he calls them - just favourite ways to 'whack in lots of flavour' and tips and ideas he has developed or picked up along the way.
Like the man himself, the book is friendly, a chat with someone who just downright loves good food. The dishes too are not about showing off. 'They're about pleasure and generosity', he says - which after all is what good cooking is all about.
So what does he find worthy of including to fit all these parameters? Well, there's a boozy date and banana milk shake, ramped up with rum for the adults. There are funnel cakes and a sensational 'go-to' chocolate cake, blueberry muffins and buttermilk scones. And that's just the back of the book.
Up front there are snacks - tostadas and corn dogs and toasties, then more serious food such as crayfish 'popcorn', weekend roast chicken, deep pan meat-feast pizza, mac and cheese - and puddings. Chef Kerridge is proud of his English heritage, and who does a better pud than a Brit? Nutty brioche pudding with chocolate, pecan tart, custard tarts, and German blitz torte are just some of the indulgences.
Clear, easy instructions, beautiful, mouth-watering photography, courtesy of Cristian Barnett, what could possibly go wrong? You can begin immediately to wow yourself, your friends and family.
Tom's Table, by Tom Kerridge, published by Bloomsbury, 2015, hardcover, rrpA$39.99.
- reviewed by Saly Hammond
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