Book Review: Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food

06 September 2013 by
Book Review: Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food

Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food
By Tom Kerridge
Absolute Press, £20
ISBN 978-1472903532

Back in 1989, Kit Chapman suggested in his seminal book Great British Chefs that the pub held the key as the location where eating out in Britain could penetrate our social fabric in the same way as restaurants have done over many generations in France, Italy and Spain.

At that time, there were only a handful of chefs who realised the potential the pub could offer as a vehicle for serving fresh, honest, hearty food, as opposed to the reheated, packaged dishes which were then the norm.

Now, nearly 25 years on, the culinary landscape has changed beyond recognition with Michelin stars liberally sprinkled among a host of pubs up and down the country, including one held by Chapman's son Dominic at the Royal Oak in Paley Street, Berkshire.

And, of course, not a million miles away, the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, became the first pub in the country to receive two Michelin stars.

Now Tom Kerridge, chef proprietor of the Hand & Flowers, in his first book Proper Pub Food has brought together a collection of more than 100 recipes which could become the benchmark for boozers everywhere that are seriously interested in upping their game on the food front.

There is also plenty here to inspire any chef, pub-based or otherwise, who is looking for something a little different, such 
as hay-baked chicken with whole roast celeriac and cider; spiced monkfish and aubergine purée with green olive dressing; and lemon verbena creams with charred lemons and meringues.

Presentation throughout is straightforward - like the author himself - with photography from Cristian Barnett truly reflecting why Kerridge's food is of the kind that is at the top of the must-eat list for so many of us.

Chapman was spot on in recognising that the pub was where the revolution for serving honest-to-goodness fresh food on a more accessible scale could be won or lost. But I'm sure that even in his wildest culinary dreams he could not have envisioned how significant the distinctly British institution has been in leading the charge - with Kerridge as its most prominent 
flag bearer.

By Janet Harmer

If you like this, you might like these:

The Gilbert Scott Book of British Food 
Marcus Wareing
Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food 
Gordon Ramsay and Mark Sargeant
The Gastropub Cookbook 
Diana Henry

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