The Chef’s Table: Mark Doe Picks His Favourite Cookbooks

Posted by

Darcy's sidebar and main


Our food columnist, Mark Doe of Just Cooking in Firies looks at the cookbooks he has acquired down through the years…

I HAVE a lot of cook books, in fact I have been collecting them since I was 16.

I am not going 
to tell you how many years that is as I will then have to give away my age!

I have books from all the well known chefs and some from the not so well known. I have books from the Novelle cuisine era – where it was acceptable to serve three pools of fruit coulis on a plate as a dessert and sell it for a huge price – and books written in the 1950s from domestic science teachers.

One particular Irish cook book I have, written in the 1950’s has a chapter on how to make cough medicines!

Continued below…


“Practical cookery” is the book that all trainee chefs learn from when they study at college and when you are learning it is the bible.

To this day I sometimes refer to it. 
The book is now on its 11th edition and has changed a lot since I owned a copy back in 1986. 
It sits proudly on my book case in the cookery school amongst some of the best cookery books ever written.

“White Heat” by Marco Pierre White was the book of my era! 
Sharp photos of amazing food alongside pictures of Marco and his team in the kitchen and the fantastic Marco quotes. I would guess that most chefs own a copy of this and if they don’t shame on them.

Continued below…

Jasmine ad insert 1

“Larousse Gastronomique” is an encyclopedia of gastronomy. Mainly based on French cuisine. it was first pubished in 1938 and today is over 1,300 pages.

This is one book that I feel I have used more than any other in my career.
 Everything you ever need to know about classical cuisine is in this book. 

The Fat duck and El Buli cook books are amazing stuff but you have to be a genius with some pretty expensive kit to pull of the recipes.

The Naked Chef is a book I love, as I do all of Jamie Oliver’s books. 
Jamie brought home cooking to an amazing level as before that home cookbooks were so dated.
 Jamie’s books would be the ones I use most when I look to entertain at home.

So out of the few hundred books that I own, what is my favourite you ask?

Well my grandmother gave me a cookbook called The “Lots of thing have changed in the kitchen since you last brought a Cookbook” Cookbook!

Written in 1970, it has a collection of recipes that can only be called classics; Beef wellington, sherry trifle, baked alsaka, lamb chops reform. The list is endless.
 But what I love about the book is this lovely piece on microwave ovens.

“Since microwave ovens are more expensive than a colour TV set, it is highly unlikely they will ever find a place in the modern home!”

I saw a microwave for sale the other day for €39.

How times have changed…as have cook books.

Happy cooking!


Comments are closed.