Coming Home - John Burton Race (Ebury Press, £20)
If there has been one surprise addition to the world of TV chefs, it's John Burton Race. Unlike many of his celebrity chef peers, he was always one of the most serious of cooks -an intelligentchef who's seems happiest getting on with his job instead of being in front of the camera. That all changed when he left the Landmark Hotel, where he gained two Michelin stars. He waved goodbye to London life and packed his pots, pans, wife and six children to start a new life in the south of France.
Burton Race had basically had enough of the pressures of cooking at that level and wanted to take time out with his family. The move formed the basis of the Channel 4 series French Leave, which documented his new life and also spawned a cookbook of classic French recipes. Back in England after his year-long French experience, Burton Race settled in Devon and bought the legendary Dartmouth restaurant the Carved Angel.
Renamed the New Angel, the informal restaurant reflects the chef's new-found passion for cooking simpler food and for sourcing local ingredients from Devon's rich larder. Coming Home is another TV series tie-in cookbook and it concentrates on family recipes from his new restaurant, as well as celebrating local seasonal produce. The book contains 150 new recipes from Burton Race, with large chapters on shellfish, fish, meat, birds and vegetables.
Most recipes are contained on a single page, and are well laid out and easy to follow, with useful notes on variations.
Pub chefs looking for fresh ideas will find plenty of foolproof recipes for gastro-pub favourites, too, including onion tart, goujons of plaice with tartare sauce, chicken in red wine and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.
A chapter of desserts features interesting twists on great British classics, such as fried bread and butter pudding, cold strawberry rice pudding and good old-fashioned Bakewell tart.
There's also a section on baking breads and biscuits, as well as a chapter of essentials, from pastries and sauces to stocks and dressings.
Michelin-starred chefs have always had a tendency to write cookery books aimed primarily at fellow Michelin-starred chefs. Burton Race, however, never talks down to his readers and this is refreshingly user-friendly for both home cooks and pub caterers. This book is a solid collection of family recipes from one of Britain's most respected chefs.