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on 14 September 2010
To avoid duplication, this title was previously issued as Gordon Ramsay's Secrets, in September 2003.

This is the newly published, 2010/Quadrille edition of the book which is 'tweaked' for publication some seven years+ later, e.g.:

The introduction now starts:

'It is 18 years since I opened my first restaurant with a kitchen brigade of four at the Aubergine restaurant,'...as opposed to the '10 years' which opens the 2003 edition, and the acknowledgements have disappeared from page 224 in the new one!

Back cover quote from 'London Evening Standard':

'A very rare thing, a book by a professional which helps cack-handed amateurs to do something more than just dream on.'

Gordon Ramsay Chef's Secrets  has a less noticeable photo of our chef with a bowl of 'watercress and potato soup' adorning the dust-jacket, which covers pink hard-boards and opens up to 223 high quality, shiny pages, split over main chapters:

1. Shellfish (pg 8-25)
2. Fish (pg 26-47)
3. Poultry and Game Birds (pg 48-65)
4. Meat (pg 66-83)
5. Pasta and Rice (pg 84-103)
6. Vegetables (pg 104-137)
7. Eggs (pg 138-159)
8. Fruit (pg 160-177)
9. Flour: Breads, Pastries and Cakes (pg 178-205)
10. Stocks, Sauces and Dressings (pg 206-219)

sandwiched between an introduction and an index.

Each chapter opens with a double page spread; a picture on one, the title and a paragraph of typical GR banter on the other.

Predominantly black text on white, each recipe opens with a lower case title, an opening paragraph which includes the number of servings, the list/s of ingredients and a numbered method. Some dishes are accompanied by illustrations which often include mini-photos to aid preparation, e.g. 'perfect medallions', for the poached lobster recipe which opens the collection.

More complex techniques such as, 'To Tie a Rolled Joint', 'To Shape Ravioli', 'The Perfect Risotto', 'Preparing a Fresh Crab' get a dedicated double-page and/or step-by-step photographic spread.

Littered throughout with 'Chef's Tips', 'Chef's Secrets', 'Variations' and various method/serving/preparation notes all of which give additional useful information and cover a fairly wide spectrum, e.g.:

♦ To Fillet Red Mullet
♦ To Clean Mussels
♦ Caramelising Bitter Leaves
♦ Asparagus Velouté
♦ The Poché-Grillé Technique
♦ Preparing Pomegranates
♦ To Skin Dover Sole
♦ To Shuck Oysters
♦ The Sous-Vide Technique
♦ Baking Fish in a Salt Crust
♦ Vanilla Sugar
♦ Apple Tuiles
♦ Perfect Fried Eggs
♦ Classic Scrambled Eggs
♦ Beurre Manié
♦ Reduced Wine Vinegar
♦ How to re-emulsify a split mayonnaise
♦ Using Dried Yeast

In contrast to the more 'busy' pages, a handful are rather bare - seemingly forgotten - with just two 'black and white' recipes - no tips; no pictures, the latter of which may prove on the negative side to those of us who like to see what we are aiming for on the plate, e.g.'Duck Bresaola', from page 60 (please see image in gallery above).
Having said that, those which are illustrated are a great example of simply stunning photographic work, from Georgia Glynn Smith.

A taste of the other recipes contained within:

* Lobster Bisque
* Mussels with a Herb Brioche Crust
* Snapper Baked in a Salt Crust
* Aromatic Steamed Cod Fillets
* Roast Chicken with Herbs and Cardamom Carrots
* Claridges Chicken Pie
* Roast Grouse with Juniper and Red Wine Sauce
* Leg of Lamb with a Mushroom and Spinach Stuffing
* Navarin of Venison with Roasted Root Vegetables
* Homemade Pasta
* Pumpkin and Amaretti Ravioli
* My Saffron Shellfish Risotto
* Torte of Field Mushrooms
* Gratin of Swiss Chard with Lemon
* Celeriac 'Lasagne'
* Parsnip Crisps
* Perfect Cheese Omelette
* Chocolate and Tiramisu Parfait
* Eton Mess
* My Baked Alaskas
* Crème Anglaise
* Roasted Autumn Fruits in Bramble Syrup
* Pain de Mie
* Apple and Sage Sourdough
* Puff Pastry
* Passion Fruit and Orange Tart
* Perfect Scones
* Dark, Rich Carrot Cake
* Fish Stock
* Vegetable Nage
* Red Wine Sauce
* Classic Pesto
* Mayonnaise

My favourite recipe is 'Braised Belly of Pork in a Rich Glaze', from pages 68/69. This flavoursome recipe more than backs up the chapter opening statement:

'...I love the challenge of taking so called 'poor cuts' and turning them into superlative meals. Belly of pork, shin of beef and lamb shanks can be transformed into dishes fit for a new rich man. And, of course, we have a generation of new young diners who have been brought up on quick cook cuts of meat, many of whom have never had the opportunity to enjoy country-style dishes....'

The recipe uses around 1 kg whole pork belly joint which my butcher is happy to bone and roll for me if I give him enough notice. I brown the meat, sauté the vegetables and go on to braise the whole dish all in the same cast iron pot, on the hob-top on the lowest heat for around 3 hours.
Dished up with the recommended 'Pomme Purée', from page 136, and followed by the colourful and nostalgic 'Knickerbocker Glories', from page 162/163.
In a word - 'Delicious'!

So what are the 'secrets' of our chef?

~ '....the simplest finishes are often the most effective...'
~ '....if a dish impresses me, I don't copy it, I break it down into its basic elements and re-invent...'
~ '....there are no gimmicks in my recipes....'

and

~ '...there is much more to good cooking than slavishly following instructions, even mine.'!
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33 comments| 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 May 2011
I'm not a huge fan of Gordon on TV as his potty mouth doesn't impress me. However, there is no doubt that the man can cook. This is my first serious cookbook and I must admit, some of the recipes are a little time consuming. I made the pork belly which took all afternoon and a part of the evening (making chicken stock from scratch) but boy was it worth it. The flavours were amazing. I also tried the tagliatelle of wild mushrooms which was tasty without being overly rich. When I win the lotto I intend to attempt the lobster salad. This is not simple cooking so if you're a Jamie Oliver fan, this may not be for you. I would highly recommend this book for dinner parties. The ingredients are not too exotic but some can be costly. The photography is fantastic and the only reason I've given this book 4 stars and not 5 is that I would have preferred more photos of the beautiful food and less of Gordon (no offence).
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on 19 February 2013
Gordon is one of my favourite chefs. This book teaches you the little things you sometimes oversee. He is brilliant!
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on 14 September 2010
No kitchen should be without this book with many tips and photos and a very good reference book to give confidence to your cooking. I had the first one called 'Gordon Ramsay's Secrets' a soft back brown cover and the recipes, photos etc in this one are identical but it is nice to have a hard back edition and I must say it is a good user friendly size - not too big.
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on 14 August 2010
A lovely book with a mixture of basic & more difficult recipes with hints and tips though out the book. The recipes are varied from a basic pasta recipe to meat & fish recipes.
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on 9 April 2015
I thout it was going to be a bit more "profesional" , is more like tricks for amateurs, and tough I am amateur... but it''s ok anyway... it always helps!!
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on 2 December 2015
Came today very pleased with service and quality of the book the book is excellent good recipes and good photography of the dishes
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on 10 April 2016
Excellent book with some very tasty recipes and useful tips. Gordon never fails to deliver on flavour.
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on 13 August 2014
Changed the way i cook - love this book - fully intend to make around 80% of these recipes.
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on 12 August 2014
a good way to pass the time not sure if i'm going to cook much from this book in reality
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