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Yes Chef! – Book review

11 December 2009 by
Yes Chef! – Book review

Yes Chef! By James Winter and James Bulmer
Absolute Press £20
ISBN 13 9781906650216

First there was Coco, which featured top chefs' tips for promising culinary stars of the future; now there's Yes Chef!, which showcases 20 British chefs and 100 of their top recipes.

Looking past the silly hats on the cover, which are a touch retro, the chefs featured are far from that. Featuring Mark Hix, Michael Caines, Marcus Wareing, Atul Kochhar and Jason Atherton, Yes Chef! presents some of the country's top talent and is totally of the moment.

The book is divided into sections for each chef, complete with profile and career history. There's as much to learn from their career progress as from their recipes, which showcase the best of British contemporary cooking.

Yes Chef! is a must-have for any aspiring chef and a real source of inspiration - every chef likes to know what other chefs are getting up to behind the stove and this compendium provides a sneak peak.

Nigel Haworth, for instance, divulges his Lonk lamb Lancashire hotpot recipe, which featured on the BBC's Great British Menu alongside other Northcote specialities such as line-caught cod on pig's trotters, tripe, broad beans and peas and ‘corned' Goosnargh duck, ham and scratchings.

The recipes are accompanied by good-enough-to-eat pictures and vary in complexity, from Atherton's seriously complex BLT to Matt Tebbutt's simple poached pear with gorgonzola and honeycomb.

The only woman featured in the book is, perhaps surprisingly, not Angela Hartnett but Emily Watkins, of the Kingham Plough in Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.

Talented as Watkins and the others are, the omission of Hartnett does raise the question of how the authors selected the chefs to include and who else was left out - Martin Burge, this year's only Brit to get two Michelin stars, also springs to mind.

But then that dilemma is also a great reminder of how far British cuisine has come in the last couple of decades. Not so long ago it would have been a struggle to put together a book like this; now you could have a second volume next week.

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