In these days where celebrity chefs are being forced down our throats in everything from supermarket adverts to political campaigns, you could be forgiven for being a little sceptical of ‘yet another’ cook book. What sets this one apart from the rest?
Marcus Wareing is one of those names you don’t instantly recognise, despite his training by Gordon Ramsay and working in several restaurants with (and indeed, he can lay some claim to the gaining of) two Michelin Stars. He made an appearance on our TV screens in 1996 in the BBC’s highly acclaimed program ‘The Great British Menu’, after which he went on to cook the highly memorable Egg Custard Tart for the Queen’s 80th birthday. Indeed, the ‘desert’ section of this book uses that very same desert as it’s illustration.
The key to this book lies with the originality behind the scenes. As the title might suggest, the idea is to create not only recipes but also short and easy to follow guides which guide us that little closer towards perfection.
A perfect place to start looking a little deeper is the aforementioned custard tart. Firstly, we have a recipe – not entirely dissimilar to any other cookbook. We also, however, have a full page dedicated to making the perfect pastry (one of my key culinary failings!). To simplify this, we have only 6 steps listed, each with a photograph to ease understanding.
Another interesting feature to this book are the ‘all is not lost’ sections. These cover some of the typical mistakes or things that can go wrong, along with some tips how to get things back on track again. Many kitchen enthusiasts will no doubt find these indispensable, and will possibly try some of the more ambitious recipes too – knowing what might go wrong, and what to do if it does.
In all, this is an excellent book with some unique ideas. Marcus Wareing is already proving himself in the professional field with his simple yet precise style, and this book will go some way towards making him a household name. ‘How to cook the perfect…’ could have been a classic if only it had been created with around 400 pages (as opposed to just over 200) and some extended ‘cooking tips’ section introductions. As it is, this is a great book that only just misses the classic status it could so easily have achieved.