This week I am

busy signing copies of the latest book, written with the wonderful Scott Pickett, owner/chef at Estelle in Northcote, and Saint Crispin in Collingwood (where Joe Grbac is the chef). SP: A Cook’s Story http://scottpickett.bigcartel.com/product/scott-pickett-a-cook-s-story is now out. It’s unlike any other book I have written or edited, because it’s Scott’s story, written in his voice. It’s the result of months of talking and interviewing, years of knowing him and his food. I’ve known all but one of the restaurants he has worked in, from the apprenticeship at Jarmer’s in Perth, through to the Hotel Windsor, Restaurant Paul Bocuse, Langton’s, The Point. The one I don’t know – though I know a lot about it now – is The Square in London, whose chef Phillip Howard has been such an influence on Australian chefs.

The book goes from his earliest years, when his awareness of food began with his grandmother Audrey’s great roast lamb, and tracks through his apprenticeship years, his first stint in Melbourne, his years in London, a stretch on a yacht in the Mediterranean, competing in the Bocuse d’Or (one of the most prestigious of international culinary competitions), and all the way through to Estelle and Saint Crispin. Every chapter (but one) includes five recipes, all of them current versions of dishes he learnt at that time, or tributes to people from that time.

I think it’s a terrific book. And I think it ought be essential reading for any budding cook who thinks that a prefect job and a TV series will follow his/her apprenticeship as surely as night follows day. Scott’s been working for 25 years – and I reckon he’s still mid-career. His success has been earned.

The other great thing about the book was working with a new team, with photographer Dean Cambray (whom I’ve known since he was a chef) and designers Leon Thomas and Kitty St Clair from Le Sphinx. No good chef is without a team; and every good book has a fine team behind it.

Leave a Reply