This Is Mine
By Mark Dodson
A Way with Media, £25
You may know that Mark Dodson has held a Michelin star at the Masons Arms, his pub in Knowstone, Devon, since 2006. You may also know he's a former head chef of Michel Roux's Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire. But what you may not realise is that he's the only Brit ever to hold that role or that he spent 18 years at the restaurant.
And you almost certainly haven't a clue that his favourite film director is Quentin Tarantino and he has a huge collection of vinyl and gig ticket stubs.
You'll discover all this and more in his debut cookbook, with its glowing introduction by Roux ("I look upon Mark as I look upon my son") and illuminating biographical section.
Dodson describes his cooking style as "good honest food, featuring local ingredients wherever possible, presented with style and taste", neatly summing up the 70 recipes, categorised into soups, starters, mains and desserts.
There's also a section on game, a passion of Dodson's, with recipes ranging from classic roasted grouse with bread sauce and a croûton spread with farce au gratin (a sort of pâté made from grouse and chicken livers) to wood pigeon with curried Brussels sprouts.
Dodson's classical background is reflected in garnishes such as turned and Parisienne-balled vegetables, fanned duck breasts and chicken cooked in a brick.
There's also a fair amount of 90s-style stacking of food, but there is also a nod to modernism with dragged purées and pickled and smoked elements. Dodson also looks far beyond Britain and France: smoked chicken comes with Thai-style salad, and salmon is marinated in soy, mirin and yuzu.
The book won't win any prizes for design, and the oddly lit photography makes some dishes look washed out and unappetising.
The editing could have been improved too: recipe introductions are not delineated from the method, and there are no instructions on how to prepare some ingredients in some recipes.
However, the book offers an invaluable opportunity to tap into the wealth of knowledge accrued by one of the UK's most respected and experienced chefs. This Is Mine should also be yours
By Andy Lynes
If you like this, you may enjoy these
The Essence of French Cooking, Michel Roux
Michel Roux: The Collection, Michel Roux
Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food, Tom Kerridge