on 2 September 2013
I have a large collection of cookbooks, some mainstream and some very much the opposite. I must admit I hadn't heard anything about this book before I bought it, it was an impulse buy from Sainsbury's (sorry Amazon.) I actually bought it purely on the strength of the design and the fact that I'm a man who occasionally reads GQ.
Anyway, flipping through I was pleasantly surprised to find there's something for everyone here. Obviously it's aimed at men because it's by GQ, but that's not to say you shouldn't buy it if you are a lady who wants it. All the recipes are very very good, most of them by established and/or 'famous' chefs. The photography is fantastic; I've spent a lot more than £10 on cookbooks based solely on the quality of the photography so to have, on the whole, manageable, achievable and affordable recipes to go with them is brilliant.
Probably the best cookbook released so far this year at this price point (£10). Not many cookbooks out there are 'must buy' but this one comes pretty close. For a tenner you absolutely cannot go wrong.
Firstly let me start by saying I have never read GQ. My knowlege of the magazine does not extend further than ogling the cover star in the local WH Smith. I am aware after a bit of a google that it is an aspirational lifestyle magazine for men and this is its cookbook.
So far so good.
The foreword of the book is written by Heston he talks a little bit about himself and a little bit about the evolution of cookery and just a smidgeon about how GQ taught him the best things in life are Brioni.
The book itself contains a number of recipes divided into sections such as Breakfast, Boy's night in, Pub food favourites and the strangely titled "rock and roll roasts" Each recipe is set out in a clear no nonsense format in a palette of white, black and oh so chic olive with a mouth wateringly large photo taking up the facing page. Some pages are randomly green, I'm not sure why they are not vegetarian as much as I am tempted to believe it is a secret "man code" for something it probably just adds to the appeal of the design.
The recipes vary in complexity from relatively simple to "book a day off work fella" complex but be warned Jamie Oliver does not grace the pages of this book with a 15 minute meal. Each recipe has clear instructions and a chef's tip with surprisngly down to Earth hints and tips. Fans of Masterchef and the Great British Menu will recognize many of the names in here and some of Britains finest chefs are well represented.
I've read this book through a few times and it has grown on me enormously. The first read through left me thinking it was a "little bit poncey". The second time was after watching Masterchef and left me thinking "hmmm" by the third read I was wondering if I could find pigeon in Blackpool without breaking out the shotgun.
Regular readers of GQ will find no surprises in this book but for those who enjoy Masterchef and similar shows this will make an entertaining and inspiring read.
As a cookbook, it's very good and provides a large variety of classy looking dishes for people who want to show off. This is not a what-are-we-having-for-tea-tonight-mum? type book but more of I-am-going-to-win-at-Come-Dine-With-Me tome. The recipes are easy to follow, there are clear pictures of what it should look like and the dishes are very varied. As the arbiter of fine dining experiences and good taste, I'd say it needs to take itself a little less seriously but don't let that spoil your appetite. Tuck in!
on 1 September 2013
Don't be put off by the title or the daft notion this is a cookbook just for men. This is a great collection of recipes by many of the UK's top Chefs. From breakfast to roasts everything is approachable for the semi experienced cook. No real fancy ingredients, no water baths and no need to have a sous chef for the day to pull a superb meal together. I was very presently surprised.
GQ "EATS" - THE COOKBOOK FOR MEN OF SERIOUSLY GOOD TASTE well that's what it says but you can ignore the sexist comment as like any good book it is for everyone who is interested. Published in association with GQ magazine who always try to portray the "cool" image of modern British cooking have compiled an outstanding book of top end recipes by inviting all our great and famous chefs to submit ideas for inclusion.
The book is divided into 10 sections each with 10 recipes - BRILLIANT BREAKFASTS, BEST OF BRITISH, BOY'S NIGHT IN, HEALTH CONSCIOUS CLASSICS, MICHELIN STAR MEALS, ALFRESCO FEASTS, PUB FOOD FAVORITES, ROCK 'N' ROLL ROASTS, JUST DESSERTS, and COCKTAIL HOUR. (There are actually 11 options in the dessert section).
The presentation of the book and each page is classy with great photography and high end glossy paper (not ideal for the kitchen as care is needed not to allow it to get marked) with a forward by Heston Blumenthal who sets our the background to his involvement. Each recipe sets out a comprehensive list of all the ingredients which will be required and an easy to follow step-by-step guide showing how to prepare and cook it. Like all top end books of this type, the list of what you need essentially means a shopping list and probably a special journey so unless you keep a well stocked larder you need to plan the use. The selection is very good and there will be few who don't find something to excite. There are many ideas to wow guests for dinner and with care you can present a menu that would easily run to three figures if you went to a restaurant.
Each page carries details of the chef and his/her restaurant - not sure whether this is so you can sample the master at work or take issue if it does not work out as intended (unlikely). The fact that so many great chefs have made a contribution is an indication of how they see this compilation and also how you benefit by getting so many aspects of high end cookery.
So, slightly different from the many cookbooks on the market at present but a beautifully presented addition. Ignore the pretentious title and enjoy.
The category of men's cookbooks seems to have been growing in recent years, with ones that I've come across having varying degrees of success. Often they fall into the trap of being too laddish but this certainly isn't the case with GQ eats which aims to bring a touch of class to this newly established genre. By using well known chefs and restaurants, British favourites and future classics it sets out to show men aren't just about cooking pies.
Anyone who's read one of my other reviews of a cookbook will likely have seen me moaning about the layout in one way or another. Fortunately this isn't going to be the case here - the compilation has followed my favourite type of design, picture on the left hand side, ingredients list and detailed instructions on the right. Each dish is introduced with it's originating restaurant and chef - expect to see a number of well known people in this list. The whole book is then categorised by course or type with a number of great looking dishes in each section.
Don't get me wrong, very few of it looks easy to cook but much of it looks beautiful and delicious - the kind of food I'd like to be known for. It also successfully demonstrates innovation and ingenuity in British cooking, with interesting flavour combinations and ingredients. While that may put some off, I'd point out the book is well put together and has some beauty in itself and would look as at home on the coffee table as on the kitchen shelf. For those with limited culinary skills there is also a select few cocktails at the back, an odd choice to include but welcome all the same.
As it all comes together, this book does so successfully - combining sophistication and great cooking. While you can't expect to find anything to knock up in 10 minutes on a Tuesday evening what you will find in its place is fantastic food, well laid out and beautifully presented.
Not that it hasn't been pretty cool for years, when people like Keith Floyd and Jamie Oliver inspired thousands!
I was seriously impressed with this as a source of inspiration - which is how I mostly use cookery books - as it includes nice twists on established favourites,(eg Shepherds Pie), as well as more original and newly designed recipes. I also agree with other reviewers that a "cookbook for men" is a bit daft, as food is food. However, the GQ tag, and the generally cool look of the thing, might appeal to the kind of man who feels that using a recipe book is a bit girly and that frozen pizza and a can of Special Brew should be good enough for anyone! It looks great inside too, with superb photography. I am a cook who likes to see what the dish I'm cooking is meant to look like, and also pictures give you ideas about presentation, which is a weak point for my personal cuisine!!
A whole slew of celebrity chefs has contributed to the collection, including ones that absolutely everyone has heard of, such as Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay and HB himself, as well as others who are not necessarily TV people, but who work in top-flight, award-winning restaurants. That said .... Simon Schama????!!!!! Also, if you fancy going to eat at one of the restaurants to try out these guys' work first- hand, unless you live in London, dream on!
Anyway, the recipes look pretty straightforward in general, visually stunning, and sound mouth-watering, eg Ramsay's Honey and Cider Lamb. The arrangement is in normal kind of format, ie breakfast, cocktails, mains, desserts, etc, which is OK, except that breakfast is at the end of the book, (and actually probably the least inspiring chapter) not that that matters! Really, you should be able to find whatever you need for whatever occasion within these pages, although you won't learn anything in the broader sense about food, ingredients, or cookery. It's fun though, and not as pretentious as I thought it might be.
For such a luxurious, well-produce, stylish-looking book, with all the famous names, it is very reasonably priced, and would make a nice gift.
on 23 October 2013
The Playboyesque cover (probably ironic and stylish, but lost on me) and GQ branding might put you off, unless you too hang out in lounge suits and polo neck jumpers, but give this a chance, and it turns out to be a very good cook book.
It's broken down into themes (outdoor food, breakfast, bloke food, fancy food etc.) with various different chefs and food writers/experts contributing to the mix in each section. Many recipes come with a little narrative tip, apparently formt eh chef concerned, for improvisations or technique advancement. Each recipe has a photo page, and the appearance of the book, and the food photography, is pretty good.
The recipes have varying complexity, and do assume a bit of competence in the kitchen, but not so much that a regular hack-chef would fail to make good food, just that some of the recipes might be slightly daunting for the total novice. Some are super simple, however, like the hotpot, or one-pot rabbit recipe, which are frankly simplicity in food from, but special too. There is probably a preponderance of showy recipes with flash ingredients, but that is not to say that everything is crazy-expensive. The initial impression that this is a cookbook for flirting or impressing wanes as the depth and variety of recipes emerges.
The only real negative is that most of the recipes are so good that have almost become the celeb chef's signatures, so they are also out there already on t'internet (the BBC food website in particular has most in one guise or another). I don't think this is a problem, since the point of a book like this is to inspire and excite, and the sheer scope and density of exciting food in this book is great enough to make the purchase well worth it.
I really like this cool looking black recipe book. It is clear that it means business before it is even opened.
The contents, instead of the usual categories, of meat, fish, veggie etc, include more appealing subjects such as alfresco feasts: 'Boys Night In' and 'Rock n Roll Roasts' catering for every mood and depending on the guests. There are lots of international influences and unusual ingredients to discover. The recipes are adaptable, if you don't happen to have any Manoyri cheese in your fridge or it is not stocked in your local supermarket, there are lots of alternative ingredients recommended in the slightly more adventurous recipes.
Every page has a photo of the finished dish complete with accompaniment recommendations, and clearly laid out step by step methods and even chef tips to help you save money, time and to accentuate the flavours of the dishes to the fullest.
The recipes are unintimidating whatever your level of experience in the kitchen. It also seems most recipes won't break the bank as most have lots of store cupboard ingredients that really deliver on flavour.
The only criticism, which is the reason for four stars and not five, is that some of the recipes require specialist equipment: not everybody has access to an ice cream machine or a barbecue smoker.
The courgette and Manoyri fritters did turn out very well.
on 28 September 2013
Don't let the title of this book put you off! This is a superb cook book! I am a regular reader of GQ magazine, and saw this advertised in last month's magazine for £20. When I checked on Amazon UK, and saw it listed for £10 (with free delivery), I decided to take a punt, and I wasn't disappointed!
This book has great photos, clear instructions, and with a little bit of effort turns out great tasting food. I am a self taught chef, who dabbles a few times a week in the kitchen when workload permits. I received the book about two weeks ago, and so far I have made Tomato and Chilli Pasta with Prawns (P111), Beef/Cucumber/Raspberries/Nasturtium (P117), Crispy Chicken Salad (P129), French Onion Soup (P161), and Roast Chicken/Maple Vegetables and Roasting Juices (P167), and they have all turned out brilliantly, even with my limited culinary skills.
There are so many more recipes I am looking forward to trying in this book, it has re-ignited my passion for food, and I enjoy just flicking through the pages deciding what to attempt next. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of recipes that look a bit pretentious, but then you would expect that with a magazine endorsed by GQ magazine.
If you enjoy cooking, and like nice tasting food, you should buy this book.