Many a chef has had their career, restaurant and kitchen stalled over the last year. While we've missed going out for dinner, their livelihoods have been decimated, their ability to

feed people practically obliterated.

But we've all got to eat, and one day (hopefully soon) we'll be able to do that in the presence of friends, family, and really great professional cooks.

Until then, our only recourse is cookbooks, and this one hopes to capture our culinary imaginations with the work of up-and-coming chefs. Prepare to be inspired...

The book: Today's Special: 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs

Who will love it? If in normal life you were found poring over restaurant reviews in the weekend papers, dragging your friends to obscure food pop-ups on the other side of town, and were the person everyone would ask for dinner recommendations, this is for you. It's a celebration of promising chefs who are already making a name for themselves in the industry, but are worthy of more attention - all picked by well established food titans (like Yotam Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell). The food alone might be enough of a draw for you, in which case, there's lots of it, with each of the 100 emerging chefs selected presenting a full menu to challenge you.

What is it trying to get us cooking? Let's be honest, the dishes presented are restaurant quality and look the elegant, sophisticated, delicious part. However, as you'd imagine, with the food of this many chefs on the roster, selected by 20 leading chefs, all with very different tastes and backgrounds themselves, there's tonnes of variety and choice. Hop from chef Dieuveil Malonga's Afro-fusion dishes (like homeland nile perch fillet with Ugandan avocados), and Prateek Sadhu's crisp, golden Indian corn puri puri, to Antonia Klugmann's super French escargot omelette, and Scotland's Pamela Brunton's potato ice cream with pepper dulse and caviar. You'll also find simpler fare... like Scotch eggs, paella, ceviche, French toast, pear tart, steak, eclairs, lamb shoulder and madeleines. They might just be a little fancied up.

How easy is it to use? Different skill levels are definitely catered for, but it may take you a while to hunt through and find ones suited to your kitchen prowess. While beautiful, the book is a little heavy and unwieldy. The chef intros are interesting and engaging and the photos stunning, but page numbers are hard to locate, and it appears not every dish on the chefs' menus are actually backed up with a full recipe. Layout-wise, it could definitely be designed for easier navigation, but if you believe in working for your dinner, you'll find a way into it.

The best recipe is... Kwang Uh's kimchi fried rice - not only does it look manageable, it involves pineapple kimchi; just consider the tang.

The recipe we're most likely to post on Instagram is... Natalie Paull's doughnuts with burst blueberries and sweet whipped cream cheese. They look SO good.

The dish we're least likely to try is... Aitor Zabala's 'cow and her milk' - it's basically a highly detailed cow shaped sandwich biscuit. It looks delightful, but we wouldn't have the patience for it.

Overall rating: 7/10 - a serious interest in restaurant cooking is advised, as is a willingness to decipher the stylish formatting. But there is much to impress and be galvanised by here.

How to make Neil Borthwick's pumpkin, beet, bitter leaf and pickled walnut salad...


(Serves 4)

For the salad:

100g beets

100g pumpkin, peeled and chopped

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 banana shallots, finely sliced

100g pickled walnuts, chopped

1 head Tardivo radicchio

1 Belgian endive

1 bunch of rocket

For the classic dressing:

50g white wine vinegar

50g Dijon mustard


250ml olive oil

To finish:

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh parsley


1. Prepare the salad. Wrap the beet tightly in foil with 200ml water and steam-roast in a hot oven for one to one and a half hours.

2. Toss the pumpkin with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast until just tender and set aside.

3. In a bowl, toss the shallots and pickled walnuts with some olive oil to loosen. Prepare and wash the salad greens, leaving them in their natural shapes and spin dry. Peel the cooked beets and dress in the red wine vinegar, sea salt, and olive oil.

4. Make the classic dressing. In a bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, mustard, a touch of salt, and the olive oil.

5. To finish: Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and dress with the classic dressing and salt and pepper to taste, making sure all the leaves are dressed and delicious. Divide onto four plates and finish with grated Parmesan and some chopped parsley.

Today's Special: 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs is published by Phaidon, priced £39.95.