Book review: Out of my Tree by Daniel Clifford

24 July 2018 by
Book review: Out of my Tree by Daniel Clifford

It takes a brave person to admit to their flaws, and an even braver one to share them with the world. In this book, Daniel Clifford does just that.

Out of my Tree

This is an epic tome - 416 pages that are beautifully put together, with stunning photography by Tim Green. The 16 chapters are complemented by recipes that have defined the restaurant over the past 20 years, from dishes served at staff dinners, such as his mum's egg sandwiches, to his iconic roast sea scallop, celeriac, truffle and apple, a dish that has been on the menu since day one, as well as his signature recipe, sautéed veal kidneys (recipe opposite).

However, it hasn't been plain sailing, and Clifford is first to admit that he hasn't always been the nicest person. Learning his trade in some of the toughest kitchens, from Marco Pierre White's Box Tree to Jean Bardet's Le Chateau Belmont in Tours in the Loire Valley, Clifford concedes that he transferred some of this aggressive style to his own kitchen at Midsummer House. But, 20 years on, he now see it as his job to develop young chefs "so the industry carries on".

Clifford attributes much of his success to his staff. Former head chef Scott Fricker is quoted: "… a stint at Midsummer House [is] more than just a job. You become part of it and you become passionate about it, like Daniel. Everyone works together to push the whole business forward."

Out of my Tree is a must-have book for everyone from young aspiring chefs to food enthusiasts. The stories are a real insight into the man who has created one of the best restaurants in the country, and the recipes will inspire a visit. Be warned though, once you pick this book up, you'll struggle to get anything done for the day.

Out of my Tree by Daniel Clifford (Meze Publishing, £45)

Recipe of the week: Sautéed veal kidneys, parsley snails, creamed baby onion, buttered spinach, red wine sauce >>

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