Book Review – Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe

16 December 2011 by
Book Review – Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe

Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe By Chris Galvin & Jeff Galvin
Absolute Press, £25
ISBN 9781906650568

As a long time admirer of the Galvin brothers' food and their restaurants, I have been eagerly looking forward to the publication of this, their first book, Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe. It has been a long time coming, but has most definitely been worth the wait.

The 286-page book is everything you would expect from Chris and his younger brother Jeff: honest, warm and welcoming. Illustrated with stunning photography by Lara Holmes, it is packed full of the most wonderful recipes reflecting the Galvins' strong allegiance to the classical French cookery which underlines their repertoire.

The story of the brothers' rise to the top of the culinary tree in London, where their three restaurants - Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Galvin at Windows and Galvin La Chapelle - continually wow both customers and critics - is inspiring.

Brought up in Essex and encouraged by their grandmother who had a bountiful fruit and vegetable garden and regularly cooked huge stews and pies, the young Galvins learnt from an early age the joy of sharing and cooking freshly picked seasonal ingredients.

From the outset of their working lives - initially as teenagers taken on at a local Brentwood restaurant to earn pocket money - to the launch of Galvin Restaurants in 2005, Jeff has frequently followed in his brother's footsteps. Over the years they've worked together at Dinham Hall in Ludlow, and then in London at L'Escargot and the Orrery.

In all the time they have worked and built a business together, they have remarkably never had a cross word. As chefs, they stand side by side, instinctively creating dishes without even talking to one another.

The French focus of the Galvins' cooking is perhaps surprising given that you could not meet two more down-to-earth British guys. They have, however, been influenced by their training and say that they like the discipline of French cookery. No matter what the influences are, there is no question that the food they produce is sublime - and the recipes here back that up.

Dishes range from simple classics such as tart flambée from Alsace and salade Lyonnaise to the more complex braised veal cheeks, ham and tongue with pommes purées and truffles Madeira sauce and savarin of summer berries. Some could easily be cooked at home, but my guess is that more of the recipes are likely to be reproduced by chefs keen to try some of the secrets of the Galvins' success.

Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe celebrates the work and lives of two of the nicest and most talented chefs in the industry. In time, I'm certain that it will be regarded as a classic, which will be around for many years to come.
Janet Harmer

If you like this, you'll love these:
French Country Cooking Michel Roux and Albert Roux
Memories of Gascony Pierre Koffmann, Timothy Shaw and Anthony Blake
French Provincial Cooking
Elizabeth David

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