A chef's signature dish is his (or her) piece de resistance. It's a recipe that defines them and tells the world about their tastes and their true passion in cooking. A signature dish can be a restaurant's best selling dish, thereby is created by customer demand. It can be a dish that reflects a chef's passion for a particular ingredient (as simple as pork, or as exotic as eel); or produce available during a chef's favourite season.
In Signature Dishes,writer and photographer, Michelle Tchea, has gathered together more than 80 recipes from leading chefs and restaurateurs across Australia. Guy Grossi, Mark Jensen, Jacques Reymond, Jane Tibble, Michael Moore and Toby Puttock are just a few of the 35 chefs interviewed for the book. Each is introduced and then asked a series of questions, such as 'Where did you get the inspiration for your signature dish' and 'What ingredients can be substituted in [the] dish' and 'What would you do with a jar of tomato sauce'. The answers are interesting and varied, and I particularly liked reading about the 'Weapon of Choice' for each chef. Responses range from an electric spray gun to a good kitchen hand (!) and to 'suddenly stop talking, laughing and having fun in the kitchen and follow the silence for a few minutes.'
Similarly, the signature dishes are varied and range from the simple to the complex, so the book would suit novice cooks as well more adventurous cooking enthusiasts or young chefs. As the recipes are broken down into elements, readers are given the opportunity to cook a dish in its entirety, or experiment with one component or another.
Signature Dishes, compiled by Michelle Tchea (New Holland) is a bargain at $29.95 and full of inspiring lessons from the culinary greats. Thank you to New Holland and Michelle Tchea for giving me the opportunity to review this title.
Cookbook reviews and interviews with food writers and chefs.