Made in Hong Kong: Cookbooks


April 18, 2011 | BY Lynn Fung

A deluge of cookbooks written by locally-based chefs are coming out in 2011

While cookbooks from international chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and old favourite Julia Child may line bookshelves, it is not so easy to find English cookbooks written by local chefs here in Hong Kong. It appears we're not the only ones to have noticed this dearth in the market, as chefs as diverse as Harlan Goldstein and Alvin Leung are all deciding to publish their cookbooks this year. Here, we give you the cookbooks we're most looking forward to cracking open in 2011.

The Restaurant Experience

Harlan Goldstein, an American chef who currently runs Gold in LKF Tower, is infamous here in Hong Kong but despite everything you think you may know about the man, we bet you don't know that he is the author of a surprisingly user-friendly cookbook called The Gold Collection.

Available exclusively at his restaurant, the book is broken into six sections: Sexy Cocktail; Bread and Flat Breads; Tapas and Starters; Pasta; Main Event and Something Sweet. Not one to hide his secrets, the book contain the recipes of many of the favourite dishes of his restaurant, starting from the green parsley sauce that comes with the bread basket, to classics such as his starter of scallop with soft-cooked egg and truffles or his famous pastas including pappardelle with truffled porcini mushrooms and Italian red prawns and black ink spaghetti.

The Gold Collection (HK$248) is available at Gold.

The Charity Cookbook

Socialite and founder of her own interior design consultancy company, Domenica Yang is no newcomer to the world of cookbook writing. She had previously co-authored two cookbooks Delicious (2005) and Too Delicious (2008) with fellow socialite and friend Claudia Shaw in aid of local charities. Yang is back at it again with Dominica Bo Bo Ho - From My Kitchen to Yours this year, which she has written on her own and in aid of Red Cross Hong Kong.

This new bi-lingual cookbook comprises of thirty savoury and thirty sweet recipes, all of which are her personal favourites. As can be expected from a mother of three, these recipes are simple and intended to be shared with the family, rather than dazzle dinner guests.

Dominica Bo Bo Ho- From My Kitchen to Yours (HK$198) is available at all major bookstores from May 8.

For Meat-Lovers

Carnivores have long been flocking to Bistecca, the casual Italian steak house by Dining Concepts in Lan Kwai Fong. Now we can attempt to recreate Bistecca's delicious steaks at home, thanks to the new cookbook launched this April. Co-written by journalist Andrew Sun and chef Christopher Mark, it also has a foreword by chef Umberto Bombana from Otto e Mezzo.

Despite the name, recipes are not limited to steaks: there are recipes for a complete meal including a foccacia bread to start and salads such as chopped salad, Caesar salad and a fennel arugula salad to get your daily five. When preparing the pasta course, you can choose from the spinach ravioli with sage butter, spaghetti puttanesca or linguine carbonara before finishing with a meat course of chicken diavolo or a butcher's burger with balsamic.

Bistecca Italian Steak House: The Book (HK$288) is available at Bistecca.

Fancy Cocktails

Finds, the only Scandinavian restaurant in Hong Kong that recently relocated to Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui, is known not only for its excellent house-smoked salmon and scapas, but when it used to be located in LKF Tower, it was also a magnet for those who craved a good cocktail.

It is fitting then, that Finds is hosting the launch of the new Multisensory Mixology recipe book on April 28. The cocktail cookbook consists of 13 original recipes including a recipe for Find's award-winning cocktails Earl Grey Martini and Panda Colada and all are written by molecular cocktail maestro Antonio Lai.

Multisensory Mixology (HK$200) is available at Finds or HK$150 at the April 28 launch party.

X-Treme Cuisine

We can't talk about molecular cuisine in Hong Kong without mentioning the Demon Chef, Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation. Leung is also working on an "art/food book" which is due to be released this autumn, tentatively titled Alvin Leung: My Hong Kong. As the title suggests, rather than a straightforward cookbook (and let's face it, would you expect anything straightforward from Leung?), this will be a book that utilises famous Danish photographer Rene Riis' stylised shots of dishes, interspersed with texts written by Leung that talk about his inspirations, the restaurant scene in Hong Kong and Chinese cuisine in general.

However, this book is not just all about Leung or Bo Innovation, it is also an homage to the city he calls home and as such, he is inviting aspiring photographers to submit photographs which must fall into one of the eighteen rather specific categories (examples include scene in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng restaurant; wild pigeons in Hong Kong; diners enjoying a group hot pot meal). Photographers whose pictures are chosen will receive a free dinner for two at Bo, a copy of the book plus a photo credit.

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Desserts Heaven

For many, dessert is the best part of the meal, so this feature on Hong Kong-based cookbooks would not be complete without a dessert cookbook. Enter Gregoire Michaud, executive pastry chef at The Four Seasons in Hong Kong, prolific blogger (trust us, we follow him on Twitter) and award-winning author. All his books are bilingual in English and Chinese and include the sold-out 2008 Artisan Bread (HK$168), which showcases his bakery recipes and techniques used in the kitchen at The Four Seasons, with a special focus on sourdough. Where Artisan Bread focuses more on baking, Never Skip Dessert (HK$198), published in 2009, is a more thorough look at pastries.

The book looks at some of the newer techniques used in the pastry world such as sous-vide and trends such as using spices, herbs and smoked foods in desserts, while also giving recipes of classic chocolate favourites. Cheese is very much a large part of dessert and in his latest book - Got Cheese? (HK$98) - Michaud teaches you how to produce your own cheese at home as well as how to use them in three types of desserts: fresh desserts, warm desserts and bodied cheese creations. The chef is currently working on his newest book: because of the success of his Artisan Bread, this new book, due to be released in July 2011, will also be oriented towards those keen on baking at home.

All three of chef Michaud's books are available on Amazon.