Book review - The Square, The Cookbook: Savoury

Wednesday 7th November 2012 11:54

The Square, The Cookbook: Savoury
Philip Howard
Absolute Press, £40
ISBN 9781906650599

I, like many other chefs in this country, have been waiting with bated breath for what has to be the most eagerly anticipated cookbook this year, Phil Howard's The Square, The Cookbook - Volume 1: Savoury. When it arrived, I wasn`t disappointed. Phil begins with a charming look into his life working for the Roux brothers and the great Marco Pierre White through to Bibendum before establishing a name in his own right at the Square.

The book is laid out in a very clean and precise way, each recipe being intelligently introduced in four short paragraphs titled Overview, Focus On, Key Components, and Timing, and, as expected if you know Phil, is written in a structured manner so precise there is very little room for error when following his recipes. There is no morsel of information left out of his instructions.

Phil has a passion for seasonal food, and this tome is a treatise about using the freshest possible ingredients and his technical appreciation for elegant, sophisticated French cooking, along with the recognition of the importance of simplicity and flavour.

He has been at the heart of fine cuisine in Britain for many years and his fans will no doubt be happy to see some of his signature dishes like his famous lasagne of crab with a cappuccino of shellfish and a Champagne foam - a dish I have enjoyed immensely - and his sauté of Scottish langoustine tails with Parmesan gnocchi.

I have known Phil for many years and his dedication to the trade and meticulous attention to technique is always so admirable and has made the Square a truly great British kitchen. Another thing I find hugely admirable is, despite his endless accolades, Phil has shunned the celebrity side of the trade and stayed true to his craft, and this comes across in his book

Photographed wonderfully by Jean Cazals, it is a masterpiece of a book and a mouth-watering taster for Volume 2: Sweet which will be released in June 2013. I can't wait. One thing's for sure, this book is destined to be a classic, and will be page worn by many thumbs in nearly every kitchen in the land. A stunning piece of writing by one of the most technically brilliant chefs in the world.

By David Everitt-Matthias, chef-proprietor, Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham

If you like this, you might like these:

● Eleven Madison Park: The CookbookDaniel Humm

● Marque: A Culinary AdventureMark Best

Watch a pasta masterclass with Phil Howard here


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