Ruth Rogers, of London’s The River Cafe, has authored multiple cookbooks inspired by her Michelin-starred Italian restaurant (many with fellow chef and co-founder, the late Rose Gray)
But none — indeed, perhaps no other cookbooks from anyone — are quite like The River Cafe Look Book. Touted as written “with beginner cooks and children in mind,” it makes sense that the publisher is art-book specialist Phaidon. Almost half its pages (“Look”) are given to hyper-colourful portraits of prepared dishes opposite impressionistic photos of everyday objects that may or may not bear a vague resemblance — say, spaghetti alle vongole juxtaposed with a vase of wilting tulips. The “Cook” section offers accessible instruction for preparing the likes of caccio e pepe, spatchcock chicken and raspberry sorbet, clearly itemizing the equipment needed and detailing each step in the simplest language possible. Will the results equal what comes off the pass at the famed eatery? That’s hardly the point. True to its stated intention, this is a text for giving confidence to those taking their first steps toward kitchen self-sufficiency.