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Cookbook Review - The Good Cook - Cooking Index

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The Good Cook

Author: Allegra McEvedy


When Allegra McEvedy wrote The Good Cook in 1999 she was 28 and head chef at the Good Cook restaurant in London's Notting Hill, having previously worked at Robert de Niro's Tribeca Grill in New York City and at the River Cafe, London. Her first cookbook was, in her own words, about "simple principles, great flavours and a desire to make people think about what I believe in".

For someone who has spent most of her adult life cooking in professional kitchens, McEvedy does a good job of producing a book for those looking to prepare good food for themselves at home. There are plenty of recipes that the averagely interested cook will think 'I like the sound of that and it's easy to make'.

Typical recipes include:

  • Beetroot risotto
  • Chickpea and brocolli curry
  • Penne with Spinach and Garlic (Robert de Niro's choice)
  • Chocolate Brownies
  • Kedgeree
  • Macaroni Cheese
  • Fiery Dipping Sauce

There is a good dose of Indian, Chinese, Thai and other south-east Asian twists and ideas in The Good Cook and it is a pleasing wander through a wide variety of (largely) easy to cook meals.

The book is divided into the following sections:

  • Everything Starts With An Onion
  • Keeping It Local
  • @ The Tab
  • Getting The Waiter's Attention
  • Down to Earth
  • The Italian Job
  • Fancy A Quickie
  • The Whole Cook
  • The Slow Cook
  • Just Off The Boat
  • Keeping The Talent Happy
  • The Wild, Wild West
  • The Irish Question
  • Feeling Chili? West Meets East
  • Good Morning Food
  • Kitchen Memo
  • For the Next Generation
  • Sauces of Life
  • A Bit on the Side
  • Party Nibbles
  • Cold Hands Warm Heart
  • Thirsty Work

It is a well laid out book with one recipe per page, which makes it easy to cook from in a crowded or small kitchen. On balance, it is a surprisingly good first book from somone relatively young and also with a background in professional cooking and it would be a good addition to any cook's bookshelves.

Allegra McEvedy has since gone on to become one of the founders of Leon, a successful London-based 'fast food' chain of restaurants serving healthy snack foods.


Hodder and Stoughton, 2000, £14.99, 208 pages (paperback)


Spencer Jackson (8 May 2007)