What’s the USP? Sophisticated, appealing and delicious vegan recipes from a top London chef
Who’s the author? Chantelle Nicholson is a New Zealand-born lawyer turned chef whose CV includes The Savoy Grill and Petrus. She came to prominence as Marcus Wareing’s right-hand woman, opening The Gilbert Scott as general manager and is currently back in the kitchen as head chef of Tredwells in Coven Garden. She has worked on a number of Marcus Wareing’s cookbooks including The Gilbert Scott cookbook; Planted is her debut solo outing. Nicholson has also emerged as a leading figure on the vegan dining scene with her Vegwells plant-based tasting menus at Tredwells and currently has a plant-based cafe concept in development.
What does it look like? There’s a stripped back, vaguely Nordic feel to the styling of the food photography – think distressed wood backgrounds and rough-hewn blue and grey ceramics – that gives the book an elegant look. Bright washes of colour come in the form of illustrator Lucy Gowans’s charming and colourful double-page painted spreads for each of the chapters headings – a slice of watermelon for breakfast and brunch; corn on the cob for snacks and starters.
Is it good bedtime reading? Only if you drop off to sleep very quickly, the three-page intro won’t keep you occupied for long.
Will I have trouble finding ingredients? You’ll find nearly everything you need, including xantham gum, coconut yoghurt and dairy-free butter at the supermarket.
What’s the faff factor? This is a chef’s book so expect a fair amount of fine slicing, dicing and chopping and recipes made up of a number of different elements, but overall the recipes are very approachable.
How often will I cook from the book? Although a vegan recipe book might seem like something you might only pick up once in a while (unless you are committed vegan of course), many of the dishes are so enticingly different that you might well find it transforms your cooking repertoire.
Killer recipes? Who knew vegan food could sound (and look) so tempting? Potato, celeriac, onion seed and thyme rostis with HP gravy; crispy globe artichokes with spelt and tarragon stuffing and salsa verde, and peanut butter pudding with peanut caramel and dark chocolate sorbet will have you wondering why you ever bothered with meat and fish.
What will I love? If you’ve ever struggled with the idea of vegan food, this is the book you’ve been waiting for with dozens of imaginative, exciting and appealing ideas.
What won’t I like? At less than 200 pages, you might be left wanting more.
Should I buy it? If you are a confident cook who is yet to explore the possibilities of vegan cooking, Planted will open your eyes and expand your mind. Not a bad deal for twenty-five quid.
Suitable for: Confident home cooks and professional chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: 4 stars
Buy this book
Planted: A chef’s show-stopping vegan recipes
£25, Kyle Books