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West: The Cookbook – Book review

13 November 2009
West: The Cookbook – Book review

West: The Cookbook Warren Geraghty
Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 978-1-55365-357-8

Canada's culinary scene might have been shunned by the recent book http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2009/10/23/330510/coco-100-emerging-culinary-stars-chosen-by-10-of-the-worlds-greatest-chefs-book-review.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Coco: 100 Emerging Culinary Stars but British chef Warren Geraghty puts Vancouver cuisine on the map with West: The Cookbook.

The slickly laid-out book is more than just a platform for the British-born Geraghty though, it's a love letter to the restaurant and its creative team - the success and synergy of which is beautifully displayed throughout its 250 pages.

An introduction on the development of the restaurant and Geraghty's story gives way to recipes from the chef, punctuated with wine suggestions from wine director Owen Knowlton and cocktails designed by mixologist David Wolowidnyk.

Pastry chef Rhonda Viani also provides some of her imaginative desserts, such as the marsala-roasted fig with almond custard, vanilla ice-cream and oat tuile to follow Geraghty's immaculate fare.

Because of the inclusive nature of its content, this book will be of interest to chefs, restaurateurs and sommeliers alike, but it's undoubtedly Geraghty's fine-dining dishes that will be the main draw.

Former executive chef at L'Escargot, and head chef at Neat in Cannes, Geraghty's experiences have allowed him to learn what he calls "a wide range of styles and techniques, from the classical, at Chez Nico and Orrery, to the more modern styles of the Halkin, Pied a Terre and Neat".

The book is split into seasonal sections, with the lighter dishes of summer - multi-coloured beets baked on salt with warm Marcella goats' cheese, giving way to the heartier dishes of winter - saddle of lamb with caramelised onion purée, croquettes and sticky lamb with crisp tongues.

Certain favourite ingredients like rhubarb, salmon and goats' cheese have short odes dedicated to them, featuring recipe suggestions and a little bit of the food's history, while anecdotes of truffle hunting in the mountain forests of Piedmont lend the book a personal tone.

The driving force behind the book is Geraghty's passion for local, seasonal produce - manifested in the clean, fresh flavours of his recipes which are brought to life with some stunning food photography. Proof that modern West Coast dining deserves to be acknowledged.

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