Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Vefa's Kitchen – Book review

05 June 2009 by
Vefa's Kitchen – Book review

Vefa's Kitchen
Vefa Alexiadou
Phaidon £24.95
ISBN: 9780714849294

For a book as broad yet also as esoteric as Vefa's Kitchen you might wonder where the interest lies outside of Greek chefs and the Mediterranean-inspired home-cook.

However, before you pooh-pooh this vast collection of recipes taken from the variant Greek range of cuisine, consider this thought in relation to your customer base: the Greek diet (derived from the Greek word dieta, meaning "way of life") is based around olive oil, fruit, vegetables and grains, natural cheese, nuts and more poultry and fish than red meat. Basically, a very similar model to that promoted by nutritionists this past decade.

This is no Essence by David Everitt-Matthias or A Day in the Life of El Bulli - aside from some tips about cooking in vine leaves, there will be no major technical revelations to be learnt from the book. However, there is a vast amount of information to be taken from the hundreds of pan-Greek recipes in the book.

As well as delis and cafés, where such fresh, healthy and easy to assemble food is a perfect fit, the cuisine wouldn't be out of place in pubs, gastropubs and informal restaurants, just as Mike Belben's the Eagle in Farringdon referenced Spain in its modern British grub. Everything in the book permeates the fresh herbs and spices of Greek cuisine, as well as the emphasis on not over-complicating dishes or swamping natural flavour.

The classics are all there - lamb kleftiko, say, or stuffed vegetables - but they a mere gateway in to a whole encyclopaedia of ideas. There are too many highlights to pick out, but just one flick through the mammoth book opens the floodgates of easily-executable ideas: rabbits stuffed with rosemary, Corfu fish stew, cuttlefish with mixed greens and rice, lamb stew with eggplants. And, if this is too unrefined for you, Alexiadou opens the book up to guest chef recipes at the end, including multi-site restaurateurs Michael Simon and Michel Psilakis from the US.

One thing is for sure; this book isn't just for Greek cooks wanting their own encyclopaedia, it's for anyone who's stared at an octopus or an aubergine in their kitchen and wondered how to get a taste of the Mediterranean on their menu.

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking