Salt Yard: Food & Wine from Spain & Italy By Sanja Morris, Ben Tish and Simon Mullins
Piquillo Publishing, £30
Ben Tish, executive chef at the Salt Yard Group, is a friend and former colleague from Coast in London, where we both worked, way back in the late 1990s.
It gives me great pleasure to review a book that he has written, along with Sanja Morris and Simon Mullins, the founders of the Salt Yard restaurant in Goodge Street in 2005. Inspired by their experiences of eating out in Spain and Italy, Sanja and Simon created a restaurant that reflected the small dishes, charcuterie and cheeses they ate on their travels. In an inspired move, they appointed Ben as head chef the following year and swiftly promoted him to executive chef of the group. The three of them have since gone on to open Dehesa in Soho (2008) and Opera Tavern in Covent Garden (2011).
Named after the original restaurant, the book is beautifully produced and intelligently written. Its cover is strikingly to the point, and says to me that this is a book that "does what it says on the tin".
Overall, it is a fantastic introduction to regional Spanish and Italian cooking at its very best, enhanced by the benefit of the Salt Yard Group's knowledge and experience.
The recipes are clear and concise, with enticing photography by Jason Lowe whose much-lauded skills are very evident as he has cleverly captured that moment when your mouth starts to water as a dish is placed down in front of you.
Ben told me that the original publisher tried steering them in the direction of a Top 100 Tapas style book, but the authors stuck to their guns and went down the self-publishing route. I am jolly pleased they did.
By Stephen Terry, chef-proprietor, the Hardwick, Abergavenny
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â- José Pizarro's Spanish Flavours: Stunning Dishes Inspired by the Regional Ingredients of Spain,â¨ José Pizarro
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