Ebury Press, £20
This is a cookbook with a back story. It began just three years ago, when two American-born Iranian women living in London were introduced by their parents.
Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros (also half-Swiss) met one brisk winter's day to discuss a shared interest in simple, healthy, fresh food. Inspired by the street-food culture of Los Angeles, where they say there's some kind of healthy offering on nearly every corner, Kouros and Larizadeh were compelled to debut the concept of food that "looks and tastes a million bucks" in the UK.
There followed an 18-month research and development programme that finished with the pair securing a site in Chelsea and opening the first Good Life Eatery. They have since opened two more outlets, in Marylebone and Knightsbridge, and published this, their first cookbook.
It's a sweet story, no doubt laced with artistic licence, which does nothing for me. And the frequent use of capitalised colloquialisms, such as PEEPS, CHICKAAAANNNN DIPPAZ and AMAZEBALLS is intensely irritating. I don't want made-up words shouted at me.
The authors' claim that their food concept eschews fads. But does it? It's chock-full of zeitgeisty ingredients, such as acai and spirulina (both of which are regulars on the menu of Pod, which was founded back in 2004). And you won't find much in the way of starchy bread and white potatoes, instead there's quinoa, brown rice and spiralised veg. Baked "squa-getti", anyone?
And if professional chefs can look past the childlike enthusiasm splashed across the pages, they will find plenty to keep them interested too, not least because so many of the recipes will satisfy diners with food intolerances. Chestnut and almond waffles, gluten-free teriyaki salmon and dairy-free salad dressings will work well on inclusive menus.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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