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Paradise Found

Chicken and other birds

Thought chicken was boring? John Torode tries to put paid to that but Mona Farrugia is not enthused.

 
Chicken and other birds
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I have mixed feelings about John Torode.  Back in his humble days when he was just starting out, he delivered fresh and exciting recipes in compilations like Torode's Thai Trek, although the publication itself fell to pieces after one use. His Relax, It's Only Food was a great concept for the time (recipes from all over, split according to how much effort you felt like making) and resisted use a little better. HIs Beef book started to seem a little lazy (nothing inventive, nothing new) but was still useful. His latest builds on the same concept of having one meat ingredient and using if in many permutations: this time, he has chosen that ubiquitous fowl, the chicken.

The book overall is therefore very disappointing: like his restaurant Smith of Smithfield in London, it looks like it will be fantastic, from the outside, but then when you delve in, you find nothing but overt commercialisation: Torode is spreading himself really thin. The selection of recipes is fair, for a tome like this, in that if you have a chicken, you will find something to do with it.

When you go for a job in a high-end restaurant kitchen, the chef will ask you to make him an omelette or scrambled eggs: the execution of such a simple dish tells you a lot more than that of a five course meal. So here, I picked Roast Chicken for analysis, and sure enough, Torode does the high heat first, low heat later method: anyone worth their salt knows that for crisp skin, you need to do it the other way 'round.

I would recommend this book to somebody just starting out and still living in dire fear of anything but chicken on their plate. For experienced cooks, you're much better off with something a little more enthralling.

Additional Information

Book Details

Author John Torode
Genre Cookbook
ISBN 978-1554076123
Price Hard Cover €7.00
Publisher Firefly Books
 

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Mona Farrugia
June 22, 2010
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