Go-to cookbooks from our favourite Welsh foodies
Saint David is the patron saint of Wales, and St David’s Day is a celebration of Welsh culture recognised throughout the world. As eto founder Tom was born in St Davids – a city named in the patron saint’s honour – we couldn’t miss the opportunity to mark the day by introducing our eto community to three of our favourite Welsh foodies.
As St David’s Day is seamlessly followed by World Book Day, we also decided to give this celebration a bookish theme. We asked a Michelin-starred chef, a TV favourite BBQ master, and an acclaimed pastry chef to choose a dish from their favourite recipe book, and then recommend the perfect wine to pair with it. Read on to discover their top picks.
Head Chef and Co-Owner of Ynyshir
Gareth Ward, Head Chef and Co-Owner of Ynyshir and his favourite cookbook, Marco Pierre White's 'White Heat'
Gareth Ward is head chef and co-owner of Ynyshir, a country house hotel in rural Wales. With two Michelin stars and five AA rosettes, Ynyshir is the most highly-awarded restaurant in Wales.
“My absolute favourite cookbook is Marco Pierre White's iconic White Heat. It changed my view on what a chef is, and what a kitchen can be. The stories are epic, and the recipes and way it's set out are really interesting. In terms of pairing a recipe from the book with a wine, we don't classically pair at the restaurant. But Rory, our drinks director, says that the style of food from this book goes with a really good champagne such as Bollinger Grand Annee. It works amazingly with the rich style of food and classic sauces.”
At eto we particularly love the Ravioli of Lobster with Beurre Soy Sauce in this recipe book. And to go with this delicious dish, we recommend a light and refreshing Chardonnay, such as an unoaked Chablis, which perfectly offsets the rich butter sauce. The dish first featured on the menu at Harveys, the restaurant run by Marco Pierre White when White Heat was published. His young protégé at the time – Gordon Ramsay – clearly loved the dish too because he still serves his own version of it in his Michelin starred restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road.
AKA Flamebaster and presenter of the TV show 'Bwyd Epic Chris'
Chris Roberts and his go-to cookbook 'Black Axe Mangal' by Lee Tiernan
Chris Roberts – AKA @flamebaster – has brought Argentinian asado to the streets of Wales and beyond with his passion for food, provenance and cooking outdoors with some serious flames and flavours. As well as his own TV show Bwyd Epic Chris where he films in stunning locations around north Wales, Chris is also a BBC presenter.
“My favourite cookbook of all time is my good friend Lee Tiernan’s book, Black Axe Mangal (BAM). This book hits all your senses very hard! He uses beautifully inventive fire cooking of some very underrated and underused ingredients, and teaches the fundamentals of grilling and smoking with legendary BAM bread recipes.
Lee makes nose-to-tail cooking sexy, and as I’m very passionate about all things offal, I think everyone needs this book in their cookbook collection. Like mine and Lee’s food hero (and Lee’s former boss at the iconic St JOHN) Fergus Henderson once said: if you're going to eat meat, it's only polite to eat the whole animal.
This leads nicely to one of my favourite recipes in the book – which is also served at Lee’s restaurant FKABAM (Formerly Known as Black Axe Mangal) – Bone marrow boats topped with braised oxtail & anchovy served with grilled flatbreads and parsley salad.
If you know me, you know how much I love God’s butter (bone marrow) – one smell of this plate and I’m transported from FKABAM in Highbury to a Sunday afternoon in 1991, Bryn Celyn, Caernarfon, eating Mrs Robaij’s beef & marrow stew. Every mouthful a beef-umami turbocharged punch in the face. My hands, lips, beard and wine glass all glistening with shiny marrow. Knife and fork unused.
I’d serve this dish with Tillingham Athingmill natural wine. It’s fun and playful, but also representative of the vintage and the overall approach at the UK-based winery. Pink and sprightly, with wild fruits, married with soft bubbles and a cream sherbet texture, it’s refreshing and structured in equal measure. So so good!”
Director and Head Pastry Chef of SABLÉ Bakery
Benjamin Conde Director and Head Pastry Chef of SABLÉ Bakery and his favourite cookbook 'Tartine Bread' by Chad Robertson
Benjamin runs the renowned SABLÉ Bakery – named after the classic French biscuit – near London's Covent Garden. Originally from Llanelli, a coastal town in South Wales, Benjamin now lives between London and Cardiff.
“One of my all-time go-to cookbooks is “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson, one of the founding chefs of the renowned Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. An incredible bread baker himself, and arguably one of the godfathers of modern sourdough, Chad’s recipes resonate with every level of chef; but also make bread accessible at home.
A particularly great recipe from the book is the sourdough baguette. With a perfectly crisp and crunchy exterior, and airy yet chewy interior, it pairs perfectly with any compound butter. But for me, it is best served with a miso butter topped with crispy chicken skin… just add your favourite red to complete a truly great first course.”
At eto we think that an Argentinian Malbec is a great pairing for this recipe, as it will complement the miso butter and the delicious fattiness of the crispy chicken skin.
eto Stainless satin wine decanter
For more food and wine inspiration, read our guide with sommelier, Bert Blaize and food guru, Claire Strickett, to the perfect wines that will complement your favourite takeaway.