Master Chef – Cookery Course


MasterChef – Cookery Course
Learn to love cooking
Dorling Kindersley – £26.00

On the inside of both the front and back covers of Master Chef – Cookery Course – Learn to love cooking; there are numerous culinary related quotes by numerous luminaries. Three of my favourite being:

‘’My wife, inviting me to sample her very first soufflé, accidentally dropped a spoonful of it on my foot, fracturing several small bones’’ (Woody Allen), ‘’After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives’’ (Oscar Wilde), ‘’One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating’’ (Luciano Pavarotti).

As for the actual contents of the book itself, well where to begin?

This rather hefty book of 429 pages, is the next best thing to having your own cooking soul mate, cum advice giver, cum all round guide, stood right by your side in the kitchen. It begins with a section called ‘The perfect store cupboard (which basically consists of ‘’non-perishable ingredients […] that ‘’add flavour to your cooking’’), immediately followed by several ‘choosing sections’’ (whether its fish and shellfish, meat and poultry, fruit or vegetables); which is in turn followed by the ‘Principles of Cooking’ (‘’The behaviour and direction of heat affects food in different ways, giving you several choices when cooking. Learn about the major cooking methods with this guide’’) and ‘5 Key Techniques’ – the latter of which I found particularly helpful. Reason being, although you may think you know ‘’the perfect technique,’’ there really is always something else, something new, something more to learn.

There’s a uniformity attached to the actual lay out and the design of the book, which works wonders in relation to homing in on exactly what it is you want to investigate and undertake.

For instance, each and every menu consists of a preparation time, a cooking time, a baking time (if applicable), as well as a standing time – the last of which, I do believe many people tend to forget about (myself included). Almost all the recipes are accompanied with mouth-watering, enticing photos – to give the budding chef an indication of what it is they’re actually heading/hoping for – as well as the amount of people it will serve and of course, cooking instructions.

The above framework is to be found throughout the book in its entirety, so it’s almost akin to using a dictionary. You always know exactly where you are and what to do. But more importantly, there’s absolutely nothing in the least daunting about MasterChef, which may partially explain for the success of the accompanying televised version.

To be sure, there have to date, been eight series of MasterChef, seven series of Celebrity MasterChef and two series of Junior MasterChef – all of which would appear to suggest the format works wonders.

Before concluding, I would like to add that there are a number of tongue-tingling cake recipes: from the simplicity of Scones (which for some reason, always photograph well) and fruit cake, to the more adventurous Brioche Nanterre, Sachertorte and Blinis (small buckwheat-based pancakes, which, as a small child, I always remember being a big hit in Holland, where they are referred to as Poffertjes).

This MasterChef – Cookery Course really is a veritable joy to behold and learn from. Not only does it take the burden out of having to cook regularly, it indeed adds to the enjoyment and actual sensation of eating. Or to quote Voltaire from the back of the book: ‘’Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking, if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.’’

David Marx

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