From the outset, the author uses this book to pass on his knowledge of flavours, gained not only through cooking but also on numerous trips around the globe. In the introduction, Gayler dispels myths about combining flavours and explains how some Far Eastern flavours have a bigger role to play in Western cooking.
The layout of the book is excellent, with 25 flavours listed alphabetically in chapters, including everyday items such as basil, salt, lemon and limes, and lesser-used ingredients such as lavender and tamarind. Each chapter has a very useful introduction to the flavour, comprising a description and details on growing/buying, storing and preparation, culinary uses and complementary flavours.
The recipes are wide-ranging. Classical world dishes such as lamb tagine rub shoulders with more innovative creations such as balsamic butter ice-cream with citrus salad and passion fruit jelly.
Instructions are clear and concise, and there's a mixture of straightforward and more technically demanding dishes.
What is useful in some of the recipes is the cleverly named "PG Tip", a device for Gayler to hand over some of his professional chef's advice. I liked the one for white chocolate and basil profiteroles, which tells you how to make ice-cream without a professional machine. Advice like this means that the recipes can be used by professionals and amateurs alike.
I tried out two recipes - apricot and lavender marmalade, and veal fillet with mocha porcini sauce - both of which worked perfectly.
The book is a welcome addition to the culinary bookshelves, and stands out for the way in which Gayler has blended the facts and information on the flavours together with the excellent recipes. He has, in my view, produced a book that will take away the freak factor in the combining of flavours.
It provides a superb reference and recipe tool in both the amateur and professional kitchen.
Donald Marshall, executive head chef, Avenance at Lloyd's of London
Flavours of the World by Paul Gayler
Kyle Cathie, £19.99
Published by: The Caterer