Book review: Behind The Pass By Luke and Stacey Sherwood-French

15 December 2022 by
Book review: Behind The Pass By Luke and Stacey Sherwood-French

Avid readers of The Caterer might recognise something familiar in Luke and Stacey Sherwood-French's Behind The Pass. The collection feels a little bit like a series of ‘Menuwatches' and ‘Revelations', entwining recipes from 22 chefs across the country with interviews and Q&As about the ethos behind their restaurants, their dishes and the places they love to eat.

The authors, the husband and wife team behind Jöro in Sheffield, explain that the book was born out of the "number one question" they receive from friends, family and guests: where do you recommend eating out? Their response is this 288-page hardback that functions both as a cookbook and guidebook, spotlighting the chefs the pair have been "fortunate enough to work with" personally.

Some of those include Gareth Ward of Ynyshir in Mid Wales, Joshua Overington of Le Cochon Aveugle in York, Kenny Atkinson of House of Tides in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Lisa Goodwin-Allen of Northcote in Lancashire and Will Murray and Jack Croft of Fallow in London. Those featured name each other as sources of inspiration, bolstering the sense of community that Behind The Pass seeks to celebrate.

The collection allows readers to mull over chefs' secrets, whether they are as technical as the perfect density for the sauce of Tom Brown's squid cacio e pepe with 36-month-aged Parmesan, or as casual as Kenny Atkinson's ideal meal when he's not working (lasagne or pasta bake). There's lots of advice too, and not just about food – though there is plenty on putting a twist on traditional civet sauce from Joshua Overington – but also equipment, such as Luke French's reliance on a Thermomix for blending, heating and infusing oils.

It asks the bigger questions in the industry too, including sustainability and starting out as a first-time chef; as well as the smaller ones, such as what ingredients they never cook with (Marmite, unsurprisingly, is up for debate). It's a delicately portioned, deliciously joyful and beautifully balanced book showcasing exactly why this industry is so special.

Behind The Pass by Luke and Stacey Sherwood-French (Meze Publishing, £35)

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