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07 January 2008

Wild Garlic, Gooseberries... and Me

“When did you last come across a cookery book that had been conceived and executed as a work of art?”, we asked back in November.

And then Denis Cotter, of Cork's Café Paradiso, published “Wild Garlic, Gooseberries... and me”, as if in answer to our question. A cookery book conceived and executed as a work of art.

If you had asked us if Mr Cotter could have topped the success of his previous books – in our opinion the best cookery books written by a working chef – we would have said it was a task that bordered on the impossible.

But, he has done it. Wild Garlic... is an intense meditation on growing and cooking. It shows all the signs of deep consideration, such as is rarely gifted to a cookery book. Cotter has wrestled with the content of this book, and has triumphantly brought an original intellect to focus on what we eat, and how we grow it, find it, and cook it. The recipes are glorious excursions into flavour, and the text is a glorious excursion into intellectual savour. The book is already short-listed for the André Simon award, and our money will be on it to take that prize, and every other serious cookery book prize going.

(Wild garlic, gooseberries... and me” is published by Collins @ £20 sterling.)