We stumbled upon Kitchen Confidential, Insider’s Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Allegra McEvedy during a recent visit to Borders in Singapore. The art nouveau style cover caught my eye, but it was the opening ingredients section that coaxed me to add yet another cookbook to our overcrowded bookshelf.
Leon is not just another cookbook. The first 139 pages (with a minor foray into the history and philosophy of the restaurant) are devoted to ingredients. The focus is on British and European seasonal foods, but there’s enough info inside to keep the content relevant to most. The layouts are fun and fresh, some of the best I’ve ever seen in a cookbook. They use the layouts to creatively highlight sections on fruits, herbs, veg, dairy, fish and shellfish, meat and poultry, seeds, pastas, etc. They’ve also included seasonality charts for the foods discussed. My personal favorite is a two-page pull out map on the most popular cheeses of Europe.
The last half of the book is devoted to Leon’s seasonal cuisine. There are favorite recipes from their London locations and some recipes they haven’t been able to serve yet. Can’t wait to try their recipes for Sweet Potato Falafels, Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Humus, and Love Me Tender Ribs.
The pictures, design, and writing style in this book are truly amazing and I find myself picking the book up for inspiration or to just read random articles almost daily. Definitely worth picking up if you have any interest at all in fresh, seasonal ingredients, good design/food photography, or are looking to pick up some healthier “fast food” recipes.