Top critical review
on 26 February 2013
Frustrated by the average Briton not sitting down to some home-cooked food, perhaps in the good company of friends and family, acclaimed Michelin chef and "man of the people" Gordon Ramsay took it upon himself to go and get Britain cooking again, with the traditional Sunday Dinner being at the middle of his campaign.
This artily-designed, hardback book contains recipes that featured on the "F Word" television series with Ramsay and is split into 25 different chapters based around specific ingredients or food styles. Set as a meal, the recipes would be a typical starter, main and dessert. At the start of the book is an introduction designed to inspire the reader and then a detailed recipe list. After a mass of recipes, advice and lots of pictures of the "great man" doing his "stuff" the book ends with a few basic recipes and then a typical index.
There is nothing wrong with this book per se, it certainly covers a wide range of different dishes ranging from the relatively simple and basic to the more engaging, fussy dish. It is good that the reader, particularly the relatively-inexperienced, has some challenges ahead. Unfortunately the book's design seems to lack a common thread or purpose. It appears that someone had run amok in a paint and font factory and threw the various elements to the four winds. The blur of colours, different font sizes, faces and attempts to be "ultra modern" with design were, after a time, distracting and the book just felt a bit too hard work to plough through. This is a shame when you see the recipes, consider the knowledge of the chef and his attempts at passing his knowledge on to a wide audience. There is even a free DVD that shows Ramsay cooking a typical Sunday lunch.
The recipes themselves, design issues notwithstanding, are quite easy to understand and follow and Ramsay's writing and presentation style is encouraging and it does not assume you are a member of his kitchen brigade with the attendant understanding of culinary terms and methods. When you consider that this book does a good job at mixing education and entertainment together, it is a shame that the design just seems to get in the way and try to become the main message. If you are able to shut this out then the book could be perfect as you get a lot of useful hints and tips, recipes and background knowledge. If you are not able to switch it all out there is a good chance you will get very frustrated and maybe even copy Ramsay and start expressing your views in rather fruity anglo-saxon terms and more besides.
If possible, and you perceive a need for a book of this kind, try and look at it beforehand. It is worth a visit to the bookstore to consider it, that much we can promise. This is though a book that has put style a little too much over reader comfort and overall content and that is a crime.