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Book review: New French Table by Emily and Giselle Roux

Emily and Giselle Roux, authors of New French Table – A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes (Mitchell Beazley; R590).

When brothers Albert and Michel Roux Snr teamed up to open Le Gavroche French restaurant in Britain in 1967, the pair had no idea that their new venture would go on to become the first three Michelin-starred eatery in Britain – and that it would inspire a gastronomic legend that would be carried on by their relatives for years to come. Two such family members are Emily and Giselle Roux, the daughter and wife of Michel’s son, former MasterChef UK judge and British two-star Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr. ‘Food has always been, and still is, a big part of my life, but I had never thought of writing a book about it,’ says Giselle. But when her daughter Emily returned to London after attending catering college in Lyon and earning her stripes in a number of prestigious restaurants, the two came up with the idea of a mother-daughter cookbook. ‘We decided to combine my background of French home cooking with Emily’s professional expertise and enthusiasm for new techniques and contemporary tastes,’ says Giselle. ‘I understand how the home cook feels, while Emily knows how to explain what to do.’
New French Table – A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes by Emily and Giselle Roux (Mitchell Beazley; R590).

The result is New French Table – A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes. More than a cookbook, it is the story of Giselle and Emily’s personal culinary journeys, and a visual reflection of how the pair’s food has developed over the years. 'From traditional family feasts to delightful simple snacks, this is a book to make mealtimes special,' says Michel Roux Jr. Broken up into soups; salads; provincial family food; feeding a crowd; today’s trends; international influences; the professional kitchen; bread; preserves, pickles and pâtés; and classic desserts, this unique collection reveals how the traditional French kitchen has evolved to suit modern-day eating. With beautiful food photography by Helen Cathcart, you’re in for recipes such as minestrone soup with orzo, roasted beetroot salad with confit shallots and goat’s cheese shavings, spatchcocked chicken with morel wild mushrooms, spring onions and watercress, as well as a wide range of spreads and dips ideal for easy entertaining. ‘This is a unique record of a family kitchen and of cooking skills passed down from generation to generation. And now, with Emily passing on her professional knowledge to her mother, the story has come full circle.’
New French Table – A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes by Emily and Giselle Roux (Mitchell Beazley; R590).