Bistro Cooking

by Patricia Wells

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Recommended by

Caroline Conran

Food writer

More than twenty five years ago Patricia Wells winkled out and recorded the star dishes of her favourite small family and regional restaurants all over France, from Paris, to Alsace, to Provence, to the Atlantic coast; it is just as well she did so, as today, in our corporate world of restaurant chains, fast food, economies of scale, branding and PR, and burdened with France's massive social security costs for every chef and waiter, they are struggling to survive. This friendly little book, a reminder of a vanishing world of cosy bistros, is packed with heart-warming, rustic dishes. I find it comes to hand every time I look at a fresh fish, some vegetables or a piece of meat and need inspiration, and it is also a great antidote to the treacherous thought that French food is fussy, over refined and complicated; everything here is robust, simple and honest.

Laura Washburn Hutton

Food writer

I began working as an assistant to Patricia Wells when she had almost finished this book. I saw firsthand how well tested and researched the book is, so of course I got a copy when it came out. I have cooked so many things from this book, time and time again. It is more authentic than most French cookery books on the subject and is a great reference book for accessible French cooking. Notable recipes: Moules La Cagouille, Gigot d'Agneau a la Sept Heures, Oxtail Terrine.

William Grimes

Obituary writer and former restaurant critic

Modest in scope but chock-full of can't-miss recipes

Rita Erlich

Food writer

All her books are good, this is my favourite.

Allegra McEvedy

Chef, writer and broadcaster

Cynthia Nims

Food Writer and Culinary Consultant

Eric Treuille

Cookbook seller

Paula Disbrowe

Writer, recipe developer and cookbook author

Paulette Licitra


Camellia Panjabi

Author and restaurateur

Debbie Major

Food writer and food stylist

Anna Hansen

Founding Director, Modern Pantry