Book review: Chefs at Home by Hospitality Action

15 April 2021 by
Book review: Chefs at Home by Hospitality Action

Charity Hospitality Action has been there for those most desperately in need this past year, through its employee assistance programme and emergency grants, but while its fundraising efforts have been curtailed, it has created Chefs at Home, a collection of recipes from more than 50 of the UK's top chefs, with all royalties going to the charity.

The book is a beautiful assemblage of dishes focusing on comfort and sustenance rather than fancy techniques or ingredients. For breakfast and lunch there's the bacon and fried egg bun that fuelled Angela Hartnett to cook thousands of meals for the NHS, the sausage roll Lisa Goodwin-Allen made with her son, and Saiphin Moore's healthy spicy beef salad. Claude Bosi's Cornish crab quiche was made with ready-made pastry to get around the flour shortage, while the fennel aïoli to go with Mitch Tonks' white beans and mussels recipe used up a glut from his back garden.

Dinners vary from Ben Tish's frugal rigatoni with cavolo nero, Pecorino and pangrattato, to James Cochran's ‘little bit of luxury' celeriac tagliatelle – because we've all needed the odd treat. Others were born of necessity, with Tommy Banks donating the recipe for beer-braised brisket mac'n'cheese from one of his early delivery boxes, and some came from wanting to help others, such as Paul Ainsworth's Cornish cod piperade in support of his local fisherman.

As well as multiple creations from the master of sweet Claire Clark, the dessert section includes a hit of nostalgia with Nokx Majozi's milk tart and Daniel Clifford's apple crumble. And, of course, there's a banana bread recipe, with none other than Gordon Ramsay providing his take on the lockdown favourite with the addition of a spice blend and white miso paste.

In the words of Hospitality Action chief executive Mark Lewis, by buying this book, you're helping to put the lights back on, food on the table and drawing smiles back on faces. And if that doesn't give you a healthy appetite, I don't know what will.

Chefs at Home: Delicious Family Recipes from the UK's Leading Locked Down Chefs (£26, Jon Croft Editions)

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