Book review – Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian

05 December 2012 by
Book review – Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian

Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian By Sat Bains
Face Publications, £75
ISBN 978-0955893025

As I came back to the hotel, after a late shift at Pollen, the concierge handed me a massive box. I went back to my room and opened it up. My fears were quickly allayed. Wow - I hadn't even taken it out of the beautiful sleeve it's presented in and I knew I would fall in love with it. The sleeve alone had me captivated.

Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian is such a cool name, but at the same time very apt. Sat as a chef and restaurateur shows just how far we have come as a nation of mixed race - that a chef of Punjabi origin is cooking full-on modern British food at the very pinnacle of world-class cuisine alone makes you proud to be British. It gives hope to a whole new generation of young chefs from all kinds of backgrounds, just like White Heat did back in my day as a young budding chef. Marco gave us hope and made us believe we could be a success with hard work and dedication to our craft. I truly think for young chefs today this book could leave the same legacy.

Inside the book, there is a great forward by Heston Blumenthal and an amazing collage of pictures of Sat's travels. I also loved the way it shows the team spirit created by Sat and Amanda, his wife, and also long-standing head chef John Freeman, who is Sat's rock.

The insight into the mechanics of Restaurant Sat Bains is invaluable to young chefs wanting to know how a master of his art works. The development area and the work John and his team do on a daily basis is very inspiring. The photography by John Arandhara-Blackwell is not only beautiful, but gritty too.

The recipes are far too complicated for any normal cook to follow and so they should be - this is a book for the professionals. The recipes - inspired by the area around Sat's restaurant in Nottingham - show the kitchen's awareness of local produce right outside their doorstep and are exciting to read. Also British classics like ham, egg and peas, which won Sat the Great British Menu, shows the kitchen is not afraid to re-invent old classics.

I totally fell in love with this book and could not put it down. I only got a few hours sleep the night I received my copy - I think you will do too.

By Jason Atherton

Sat Bains is giving away a personalised copy of his book to one lucky reader of Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Simply answer the following question and email with your answer by 1 January 2013.

Which region does Sat Bains's family originate from?

a) Kerala
b) Punjab
c) Rajasthan

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