Book review – Paul Food

03 August 2012
Book review – Paul Food

Paul Food
By Paul Cunningham
Grub Street, £25
ISBN 978-1-908117-22-9

Paul Cunningham is a British chef and a really good friend of mine who moved to Denmark some 18 years ago.

An adopted Viking, Paul ran his own Michelin-starred restaurant at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen until September last year. Earlier this year, he took up a new venture, at Henne Kirkby Kro, an old country inn with five bedrooms.

Paul is an incredible chef. He's very talented, his food is bold with great flavour combinations, and he displays great skill, great technique.

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to go to Copenhagen, with three other chefs, on a gastro tour organised by Paul. Without doubt, the highlight of the trip was the amazing food at Paul's restaurant. It's probably one of the best meals I've ever had.

Paul Food carries 100 recipes, features anecdotes from 25 locations and covers the four seasons. It's a real snapshot of his time spent travelling the world, illustrating how many influences he takes on board while visiting other countries and uses them in his cooking, a type of magpie cuisine. One such dish inspired by his travels is red king crab with peach and miso from Tokyo.

The book provides an insight into some of the most beautiful restaurants in the world and some of the most beautiful dishes. Some of the dishes look so good, you want to lift them off the page and eat them, and I love the way he's recounted stories from his travels that truly reflect his character.

Not only is Paul a great cook, he's also an artist. He's a great photographer and sketcher and just has this knack of making things look really cool. The way he writes his menus has always been original. I remember one dish which featured cress and the way he described it was "clipped cress" - who would think of that? For someone who's nearly 19 feet tall, he comes up with the most beautiful phrases; they just make sense, they're not pretentious.

Among some of the best dishes in the book is the Johnny Cunningham Cornish pasty, which I'm going to make for the staff very shortly - dishes like this, for me, are "him".

Paul Food is pure Paul Cunningham in the way he's captured the food and the cities he's visitied. Please take my word for it, it's brilliant, and it's going to be a great hit all over the world - well done Paul.
By Sat Bains, chef-patron, Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, Nottingham

If you like this, you'll love these:
Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking Andoni Luis Aduriz
â- Marque: A Culinary Adventure Mark Best
â- Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine René Redzepi

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