I really wanted to love Chef Michael Smith's cookbook. Visually, it is quite perfect, the layout, the quality of the paper as well as the photographs illustrating each recipe... but! Not all recipes are winners. I found the chicken and beef stews to be bland and boring, the miso soup was OK but not fantastic... that said the no-knead country bread was wonderful and easy and the butterscotch recipe perfect.
As a result, I found the quality of the recipes all over the map. This has created a lack of confidence in the recipes which makes choosing one challenging. If you are a fan of the show and have loved everything you have tried by Michael Smith, this will be a winner for you and your kitchen. The recipes are very simple and straightforward, perfect for the new cook.
But! If you enjoy complicated flavours with fascinating and innovative cooking techniques like me, you will probably be disappointed.
I think that we're now up to 28 recipes used from this book, some several times over. I can't think of a single other cookbook that we own, and we own a lot, that we have used so much. There are some outstanding ones such as his Southwestern Red Beans and Rice and some used for occasions only such as his Bacon, Potato and Cheddar Tart. He encourages experimentation with ingredients and offers several suggestions that we've used and we have also built on his basic recipes to make them our own. The ingredients are readily available so there will be no surprises. He's made us believe in jars as well.