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Book Review – Pavilion on a Plate

02 February 2012 by
Book Review – Pavilion on a Plate

Tony Leck's Pavilion on a Plate: Fresh Flavours from Guernsey By Tony Leck
Regional Magazine Company, £20
ISBN: 978-1-907998-07-2

Originally from Cumbria, Tony Leck made his home in Guernsey in 1987, having moved there as a young pastry chef. Very quickly, inspired by the slow pace of life and the bountiful local produce, he worked hard at extending his culinary knowledge working through a variety of establishments.

From the moment he established the Pavilion, set within an eight acre garden a few miles outside St Peter Port, the restaurant became a hit. Within its first year, in 2000, it won the Guernsey Restaurant of the Year title and has since gone on to become the island's most highly rated restaurant, holding a Michelin Bib Gourmand annually since 2004.

The philosophy behind the Pavilion is fresh, locally sourced ingredients - dried food, spices and oil are the only items bought from the mainland - and also very much the focus of this 224-page book. Leck intends for readers to be able to cook all the recipes at home, with the resulting flavours inspiring everyone to come back for more.

There is no doubt that the reader will be quickly drawn into each recipe - almost every one is accompanied by clear and enticing photography by Ally Clark. While each dish is straightforward in its preparation, this does not detract from the finished results. Inspired by Guernsey produce, this is food that is both achievable and exactly what most of us want to eat, most of the time.

Who cannot be enticed by chilled Guernsey tomato consommé, summer vegetables and fresh herbs; freshly picked Guernsey crab salad with red bell pepper mayonnaise, scorched cherry tomato and parmesan crisps; mussels with Rocquette cider, Guernsey cream and coriander; and slow-braised shanks of Sark lamb with red wine sauce.

Unsurprisingly, given Leck's training under renowned pâtisserie professor John Huber at Thames Valley University, the sweet section includes a wide selection of dishes which would provide a popular addition to any dessert menu. Gâche melée (a traditional Guernsey apple cake) with marmalade ice-cream and raspberry arctic roll with summer berries are just two of the most impressive offerings.

The combination of Leck's user-friendly recipes and Clark's stunning images - which provide a real insight into the variety of fresh produce found on Guernsey - makes for a book which is both a useful and visual treat.

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