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Top five... cookbooks

Is the veteran restaurateur and chef Paul Heathcote a Delia disciple or summat else?

Published on November 5th 2010.

Top five... cookbooks

TV CHEF Paul Heathcote this year celebrates his 20th year in the business. From the opening of his celebrated Longridge restaurant near Preston, he branched out to Simply Heathcote's in Liverpool and then opened up family favourite The Olive Press. Grado in Manchester followed, now he has more restaurants dotted around the place than spots in a spotted dick.

But there is only so much you can do with a Bury black pudding. Here the master chef picks his favourite five cook books.

Choosing just five books was a real challenge as I’ve been collecting them since the early eighties.

I’m a big fan of a lot of today’s chefs and food writers, so I’ve got everything by Jamie, Nigella and Delia.

With hundreds of books to choose from, there simply wasn’t space for some of the books that I use time and time again, like Feast by Nigella Lawson, and I think Delia Smith’s Winter Collection is an absolute classic.

For a read on food, An Omelette & Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David, Toast by Nigel Slater or Food Inc to scare you – there are so many."

1. Real Food, by Nigel Slater “This book shared the same release date as Rhubarb & Black Pudding, the book I co-wrote with Matthew Fort. Nigel was relatively unknown at the time, but he still managed to get a TV show out of it. What he was doing over a decade ago is similar to what Jamie Oliver is doing now – deconstructing food to make it simple.”

2. Union Square Cafe Cookbook, by Danny Meyer “It was only when I read this book that I fully appreciated that there was more to American cooking than just burgers and fries. Meyer, along with Wolfgang Puck, paved the way for the next generation of great American chefs, like Thomas Keller.”

3. White Heat, by Marco Pierre White“This book has really stood the test of time and the black and white photography by legendary photographer, Bob Carlos Clarke, is still as striking today. It came out just after I took over from Marco at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, so we worked together for two days. It is a proper chef’s book and almost every recipe is introduced with his trademark expletives. No chef worth his salt has not got this book.”

4. La Grande Cuisine Minceur, by Michel Guerard “This book was published just as nouvelle cuisine took off. Michel did cook in small portions but it caused uproar in France because the recipes were low fat at a time when the French were using a lot of butter and cream in their cooking, cuisine minceur was revolutionary cooking”

5. New Classic Cuisine, by Albert and Michel Roux “This came out in the early 1980s and was revolutionary at the time. Albert was really the first of the superstar chefs to bring out a cook book and he was the biggest name in catering for the next 15 years.”

For more information about Paul's restaurants, visit www.heathcotes.co.uk

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Fritter ye notAugust 4th 2010.

Hear hear Prof. My wife never fails to serve up delicious Fanny batter every Friday night.

paul heathcoteAugust 4th 2010.

sure gordon is good and i have half a dozen of his books are they in my favourites ?,no as for nigella the recipes always work and are generally top drawer domestic meals ...as for enjoying her tv stuff the books are much better

P. IvyAugust 4th 2010.

Mrs Beeton my aga ! Me and a few of the ladies from the Bingo are very much into the recipes of 17th Century Cook, Catherine Deshayes. We all want to give hubby somethiong special for his tea.http://www.nndb.com/people/875/000094593/

DigAugust 4th 2010.

What's Nigel Slater got to do with cooking? I thought he was that scruffy fella who played the violin in the 80's.

DangerscouseAugust 4th 2010.

Well structured arguments there 'Anonymous'.......I can't seem to find a weak point in your analysis. I guess that our Nigella Express book will have to burnt tonight to save any other poor soul of being infected.I'd also add that Ainsley Harriott is too tall and James Martin is too posh to be considered good....

FlounderAugust 4th 2010.

Nigels writes well no fault of his own hes got a face for radio however HFW fairly wipes the floor with both him and Jamie.Going to have to read white heat.. Wheres Larousse and McGee Paul no girls not even HG or ED?

Beeton The BratAugust 4th 2010.

Wha´'s wrong with Mrs. Beeton, you fashion fictims?

AnonymousAugust 4th 2010.

I can't stand Nigella Lawson. Wouldn't have a cook book in the house by HER! I would burn it first. Nigel Slater is gay. Delia Smith shouts at football matches like a drunken lout. Gordon Ramsey is good.

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