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Roast Chicken And Other Stories

Author: Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham


When Simon Hopkinson wrote Roast Chicken and Other Stories in 1994 he could have little idea how successful it would be. It won both the Andre Smith and Glenfiddich awards and in 2006 was named by Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine as the best cookbook ever.

It is a very simple book. Professional chef Simon Hopkinson takes 40 ingredients and offers recipes for making the best of them. The influences are largely French and Italian, as befits Hopkinson’s restaurant training, although other cuisines do get the occasional look in.

For each ingredient Hopkinson has a short discourse on why it is important to him, a bit of background on sourcing and quality and other bits and pieces that are of interest. Then follows between two and eight recipes for each ingredient. The ingredients range from anchovies and brains to grouse, endive and potatoes.

The great thing about Roast Chicken and Other Stories is how much each recipe inspires you to want to cook it. There is very little chef-ery on display here; these are dishes you can and would want to cook at home for your family and friends.

Favourites I have cooked include Baked new garlic with creamed goat’s cheese, poached cod with lentils and salsa verde, anchovy and onions tarts and – as the title suggests – roast chicken.

A valuable addition to any cooking library – for everyone from the beginner to the professional chef.


Ebury Press, 1994, £10, 229 pages (paperback)


Joe Saumarez Smith (8 April, 2007)

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