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VINE VOICEon 17 January 2006
The Cook’s Book is quite a tome - in the most positive sense.
In size it is large format, over 600 pages and packed with colour. The production standards are extremely high.
In scope it has chapters – each penned by a different author – on a wide variety of topics. Some are obvious, being themed around ingredients – Bread, Meat, Fish, but others cover styles of cooking, such as Japanese or Mexican. The length of the chapters are dictated by the use that the authors assume will be made of the topic. Thus the Fish chapter is long, the Mexican chapter short.
The authors are an international bunch, many of whom I’d not heard, but others (such as Shaun Hill or Marcus Wareing) are quite well-known in the UK. The standards are excellent throughout irrespective of the author.
As well as having recipes this book is also a “how to” manual with many pages on techniques – e.g. for making stocks or filleting types of fish. All processes are well illustrated. There are also many handy tips. So, for how long should I roast my salmon fillet? The answer is quickly found - 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
It also scores in having a good mix of “staple” as well as “fancy” recipes, thus making this not just a special occasion book, nor one in which the authors feel they have to show off.
For me the test of a good cookbook is whether I enjoy reading it for pleasure and whether I cook from it.
Well, it’s a joy to read (although not a narrative in the way of Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries). And within the first week I’d cooked a number of recipes – chicken stock and chicken jus, oatcakes, gravadlax and venison in a walnut, sour cherry and cinnamon sauce. All were straightforward, easy to follow, recipes and provided excellent results.
This book has, at a stroke, become my first point of call when I want to cook something or find out how to approach a cooking task.
Highly recommended.
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on 12 October 2005
This is an awesome culinary resource.
It is filled with an wide variety of informative chapters: sauces, starters, cakes, creams, pastries, and poulty; supplimented by a nice collection of chapters that focus on innovative, international cuisine.
While general cooking guides often only briefly skirt each subject; every chapter from The Cook's Book provides detailed investigation. At no point have I felt deprived of necessary information.

The clean, almost clinical DK style used to its full potential. Great recipies sit along side technicalities, tips and tricks, optional extras, and interesting narrative.
The wonderfully bright layout makes the preparation of the recipes appear very manageable; presenting all of information with reassuring clarity.
I am sure that The Cook's Book will become more valuable to me as I make my way though its recipies. I am also sure that it will continue produce suprises, regardless of how many times it is read.
It makes me want to cook. What more positive a compliment could there be?
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on 26 April 2010
There have been mixed reviews on this, and although this book won't leave you cooking cordon bleu, it will guide you very thoroughly through a lot of basic to intermeidate techniques which will certainly help towards building more advanced culinary skills.

It doesnt assume a certain level of experience before you start, so explains every step with excellent pictures and tips in the most basic language.

I have had this book for about 10 years, and have called upon it so many times. It doesnt always have the breadth of recipes I would like, missng off some real classics that I would have expected in a cook book of this size, but that is more than made up for with the skills I have learnt from it and been able to apply elsewhere.

I will continue to use this as a first point of reference for mastering techniques and for recipes.
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on 15 November 2006
This is not a bad book, but covering cookery technique has been done better elsewhere. I would particularly recommend the Cordon Bleu "Cooks' Bible" or Leith's "Techniques Bible" as they contain more substance. Using a variety of 'big name' chefs is a bit of a novelty - you can tell that they don't really have time to be writing the book and there is not really enough space for them to actually cover their subject - for example, oriental cooking gets just a few pages.
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on 15 December 2005
A cook book for everyone! One that clearly shows how to prepare and cook basic food as well as more advanced (which I thought would be more difficult) dishes. However, as this is a book with step-by-step instructions and pictures to follow, one cannot fail.
As it includes recipes by many different chefs, one certainly gets the best. With easy reading text and lots of hints and tips, one cannot fail in the kitchen with this one.
This is definitely one of my favorite cook books.
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on 7 October 2005
Stellar. This is a must-have book for any serious cook or chef. Top chefs demonstrating their signature dishes. Ferran Adria on foams, Dan Lepard on Bread, Pierre Herme on deserts, the list goes on and on, soup to nuts. 24 chapters each by the master in their field, lavishly illustrated, not just food porn but working pictures of each stage in the process. A book to cook from, not just leave on the coffee table, although it looks good there as well. A book I will keep returning to.
My only criticism so far is that the large glossy format is awkward in the kitchen. I wish the publishers would publish it also in electronic form, or have included a DVD so that one can print out just the recipes in use to take into the kitchen.
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on 14 July 2007
this book has been a mainstay in my kitchen since I bought it a year ago. Its is more for technique than recipes, and there is almost every technique in cooking that I can think of. The recipes that are included are often "signature dishes" of the contributing chefs which is great, plus lots of step by step photos which I think is very important when learning a new skill.

The dark chocolate mousse recipe in there is simply sublime...and works every time..!! Try it and you won't be disappointed...plus it only takes 1 hour to chill...!
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on 28 December 2005
One of my favourite Christmas presents this year!
I totally agree with all the previous rave reveiws of this book.
It gives thorough, detailed instructions on a host of cooking basics as well as more advanced recipes, but manages to do so without appearing patronising.
I can already see this will become one of the most well-thumbed cookbooks in my kitchen!
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2006
Almost perfection. A technique based cookbook with pertinent, well-illustrated recipes and clear, detailed instructions. I'm very pleased with this book yet sometimes I get the feeling that a little more depth or even breadth of technique would have made this a truly great cooks book rather than merely a very good one.
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on 6 September 2011
This book is really comprehensive - some of the recipes are simple, othes more complicated, but they all look great. It's a really hefty tome and covers all aspects of cookery. Think I'm going to assign some of my old books to the charity shop now (sorry Delia).
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