Review: The Recipe

by Josh Emett with photography by Kieran E. Scott Upstart Press, $49.99 RRP

I get a lot of cookbooks across my desk. (Sorry.) Not all of them are great; some of them I struggle to even find ‘good’. But this one – I have a problem. It’s white. And there is absolutely no way it’s going to remain white in my kitchen.

The Recipe is a collection of recipes put together by former Gordon Ramsay protege and Masterchef judge, and current Kiwi chef extraordinaire, Josh Emett. If ever there was someone you’d choose to put together a book of recipes you should cook at least once in your life, Josh is your man.

From Kiwis Al Brown and Peter Gordon, through Brits Angela Hartnett, seafood king Rick Stein and Marco Pierre White (and of course Josh’s former boss Gordon!), French genius Anne-Sophie Pic and beyond, the three hundred-odd recipes from some of our planet’s most distinguished chefs – including several from Josh himself – are like waking up on Christmas Day to find your favourite puppy, game, bucketlist travel destination tickets and favourite restaurant reservation all wrapped in a giant big red bow at the end of your bed.

My biggest issue with the book is where to start. Normally in a cookbook I have between one and six favourites; in this book I have about two dozen. Finding Ken Hom’s Wonton Soup is a childhood dream for me; this is a guy I’d follow to China and back, and do the swim just to meet him. However, I can also put Josh’s Scrambled Eggs recipe in front of my boys to make, they are that easy (and fab); Jacques Pepin’s Ratatouille recipe is already in a competition between me and my French homestay (you’re on, Maxime!), and I even have Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Turkey ready to make for this year’s midwinter Christmas.

The Recipe feels hugely self-indulgent, without landing in the too-hard basket. I have simple, basic recipes for dashi, for stocks and for dressings, alongside soups, snacks, salads, mains and desserts enough to make you weep with indecision. This book has done something quite special for me: it’s made me remember why I started hoarding cookbooks. I started because I wanted the few recipes that were worth keeping. In this book, I feel like I pretty much found them all.

And if I sound like I’m fangirling like a One Directioner – pretty much, yeah.

The Recipe, Josh Emett with photography by Kieran E. Scott (Upstart Press, $49.99 RRP, on sale 4 April 2019)