Editor, Observer Food Monthly,
It might seem strange not to nominate Roast Chicken and Other Stories, if only for the pork belly and the rice pudding, but the cookbook perhaps dearest to my heart is Simon Hopkinson's Week In, Week Out, the collection of his columns for the Independent. I was his editor when most were written but it is not sentiment that drives my choice. These are bold, brilliant, confident recipes written by a gifted cook at the height of his powers for people who maybe had none of these same qualities in the kitchen. Often overlooked, perhaps his finest work.
One of the most used books from my shelf. A collection of Simon’s work from The Independent Saturday magazine; it goes a lot in saying I am not a fan of Jason Lowe’s food photography, yet I still turn to this book again and again. That’s how good are the recipes. I love putting my presentations on Simon's preparations and I deeply respect the effort he puts into ensuring the recipes work and how his cap is so oft doffed to those that have inspired his path.
There's something about the blend of the playful and the obsessional about Week in Week Out that I find a great draw. In this book Simon Hopkinson wrote recipes that were unapologetically 'trad' way ahead of the game.
Far more useful and inspiring than his (still excellent) "Roast Chicken and Other Stories"
Co-founder of Leon
Head Chef, The Eagle Farringdon
Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator
Food and travel writer