Bentley Contemporary Cuisine - Brent Savage
Book Review by Franz Scheurer
It's hardly a secret that I love Bentley Restaurant & Bar. I love the food, the atmosphere, the service and Nick Hildebrandt's brilliant wine matches. I love the sense of adventure and culinary frivolity that just 'happens' every time I dine there. Now chef Brent Savage has released his book, Contemporary Cuisine, we can all read how the food is created and plated. It's a wonderful book and it speaks to home cook and professional chef. Although this would make a terrific table-top book (it's absolutely stunning to look at) it would be a pity if it was only ever used this way. it's far too informative not to find a spot in the kitchen, become fat-splattered with pages being pawed at by cooks hungry for something new, thirsting for knowledge.
Brent Savage is a particularly gifted cook and his food, although cutting edge, is food I want to eat. So when the book came out I welcomed it, no longer having to pester chef with endless questions, but being able to read up on a dish in the comfort of my own home. It's a brilliant book and obviously comes from the heart.
It steps you through techniques, e.g. hot smoking, de-hydrating, etc. - all processes that you will need to successfully produce one of Brent's dishes. I was always wondering exactly how Brent made the 'Smoked Eel Parfait with White Soy Dressing and Seaweed'. Now, opening the book on page 48 I can read it, step by step and the photograph on pages 50/51 helps me visualize how it is meant to be plated. It seems everyone of my favourite dishes are in the book, from 'Almond Gazpacho with Milk Crisp and Oyster' to 'Liquid Pineapple with Soft Chocolate and Pineapple Sorbet'. There is also a terrific section on Drinks and a lovely explanation on how Nick Hildebrandt arrives at his drink/food matches on page 247. Congratulations, too, to the photographer Luke Burgess who really captured every aspect of Bentley Restaurant & Bar and its crew, as I know and understand it.
This is a fabulous book and it's one book that is 'must have'.
Published by Murdoch Books