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The Cook and the Baker: Book review

Reviewed by's Darren Bevan

It seems like a very simple idea - pulling the cheffing stars of the savoury and the sweet together to produce a book.

Yet, I think The Cook and The Baker is the first one of these mix and match combinations I've ever read.

The cook is Mark McDonough who owns Zarbo in Auckland - and the baker is Dean Brettschneider.

With just over 250 pages, this book pulls together a series of recipes aimed at inspiring the most basic of chefs (as well as the experts).

Complete with the now-standard mouth-watering photography (every decent cookbook should have shots which make you want to rush out to the supermarket, buy the ingredients and get cooking), this book is an excellent collection of all kinds of recipes.

Broken up into sections such as main meals, entrees, breads etc., there's plenty to get the mouth watering - and once you get past the each of their opening statements, it's hard not to dive straight in.

The pair's vision for food is matched by the fact they keep the recipes simple and easy to follow, as well as offering some hints to encourage you on your culinary journey.

For example, a recipe for a traditional potted cheese comes with a list of ingredients - e.g. cheddar, blue cheese. But each of those is qualified with a recommendation over which is the best cheddar for the recipe - it's that kind of insight that helps make the recipes easy to follow and understand.

But it's the dessert section which has had me drooling ever since I got this book, with the likes of berry compote muffins, frangipane tarts and home made ice-cream wanting and willing me to expand my repertoire.

Sensationally simply put together and easy to follow, this book offers more ammo to help entertain through the summer months - and provides plenty of ideas for comfort food when the dreary winter draws in once again.

Rating: 8/10

The Cook and the Baker
Publisher: Random House
RRP: $45
Available: Now