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Top five... cookbooks

Is the veteran restaurateur and chef Paul Heathcote a Delia disciple or summat else?

Published on August 11th 2010.


Top five... cookbooks

TV chef Paul Heathcote this year celebrates his 20th year in the business. From the opening of his celebrated Longridge restaurant near Preston, he branched out to Simply Heathcote's in Liverpool and Manchester (now closed) and then opened up family favourite The Olive Press. Grado in Manchester followed, now he has more restaurants dotted around the place than spots in a spotted dick.

But there is only so much you can do with a Bury black pudding. Here the master chef picks his favourite five cook books.

Choosing just five books was a real challenge as I’ve been collecting them since the early eighties.

I’m a big fan of a lot of today’s chefs and food writers, so I’ve got everything by Jamie, Nigella and Delia.

With hundreds of books to choose from, there simply wasn’t space for some of the books that I use time and time again, like Feast by Nigella Lawson, and I think Delia Smith’s Winter Collection is an absolute classic.

For a read on food, An Omelette & Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David, Toast by Nigel Slater or Food Inc to scare you – there are so many."

1. Real Food, by Nigel Slater “This book shared the same release date as Rhubarb & Black Pudding, the book I co-wrote with Matthew Fort. Nigel was relatively unknown at the time, but he still managed to get a TV show out of it. What he was doing over a decade ago is similar to what Jamie Oliver is doing now – deconstructing food to make it simple.”

2. Union Square Cafe Cookbook, by Danny Meyer “It was only when I read this book that I fully appreciated that there was more to American cooking than just burgers and fries. Meyer, along with Wolfgang Puck, paved the way for the next generation of great American chefs, like Thomas Keller.”

3. White Heat, by Marco Pierre White“This book has really stood the test of time and the black and white photography by legendary photographer, Bob Carlos Clarke, is still as striking today. It came out just after I took over from Marco at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, so we worked together for two days. It is a proper chef’s book and almost every recipe is introduced with his trademark expletives. No chef worth his salt has not got this book.”

4. La Grande Cuisine Minceur, by Michel Guerard “This book was published just as nouvelle cuisine took off. Michel did cook in small portions but it caused uproar in France because the recipes were low fat at a time when the French were using a lot of butter and cream in their cooking, cuisine minceur was revolutionary cooking”

5. New Classic Cuisine, by Albert and Michel Roux “This came out in the early 1980s and was revolutionary at the time. Albert was really the first of the superstar chefs to bring out a cook book and he was the biggest name in catering for the next 15 years.”

For more information about Paul's restaurants, visit www.heathcotes.co.uk

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CJAugust 11th 2010.

I'd add Hugh FW's Meat Cookbook to that list. Brilliant on all levels. It also has the best Chilli-con-carne recipe in the whole world.

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