Tom Flint: Chefs share their secrets in new book

The new cookbook, which Tom says offers a fantastic snapshot of the citys food scene
The new cookbook, which Tom says offers a fantastic snapshot of the citys food scene

Have you ever left a restaurant and enjoyed a dish so much that you tried to recreate it at home?

I know I have. Being inspired by a great meal is something I love about eating at restaurants. Often my attempts fall very short, and understandably so, but it is fun trying. Chefs put a lot of time and effort into creating the dishes we love. Now they have shared that knowledge with us thanks to the new Brighton’s Best Cookbook.

The cookbook has been created by Andy Lynes, one of the team behind the superb Brighton’s Best awards and OctoberBEST

food festival. Andy has worked with the Top 20 restaurants from this year’s awards to bring together a selection of recipes from each venue. It is a celebration of the quality and diversity of the city’s top chefs and the food they create.

Andy is an established writer and journalist who has been championing the Brighton food scene in the national press. His knowledge of the food and drink industry is evident throughout the book. From the introduction, and in each restaurant introduction, Andy shares his insight into the city’s food landscape. His passion for the city and the restaurants featured is conveyed in a thoughtful and engaging way. Add to this the beautiful photography and presentation and you have a book that is pleasant to leaf through and more than just a reference book.

As you work through the book you traverse fine dining, seafood, curry, vegetarian, Italian, Japanese and innovative modern British cuisine. On nearly every page you encounter a dish that you’ve either eaten or seen on a local menu. As a local food enthusiast that makes for an exciting read. What I also enjoy is that you get a real sense of the identity of the chefs and restaurants through the recipes included.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the recipes are going to be extremely technical and require a lot of equipment. This is not the case. There are plenty of achievable dishes. The recipes highlight the care and attention that go into creating restaurant-quality food. The skills and techniques used are not beyond the grasp of the home cook and the chefs show how to use these to make the most of the ingredients, and this is the real insight I took from book.

The cookbook is a fantastic snapshot of Brighton and Hove’s current food scene. Few other books feature recipes from so many top chefs, such as Michael Bremner, Duncan Ray and Douglas McMaster, who are gaining national acclaim and recognition. It is a celebration of the inclusive food community, with high-end restaurants such as The Set, Isaac At and The Gingerman placed on an equal setting with informal eateries such as Fourth and Church, Bincho Yakitori, Fatto a Mano and Semolina. If you are a fan of the local food scene and want to understand it on a new level then I would highly recommend picking up a copy.

Brighton’s Best Cookbook, £25

Edited by Andy Lynes