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All the practical help you need to become relaxed and confidence in the kitchen

By Laura McKinnon
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<i>The Cook's Apprentice</i> by Stephanie Alexander

The Cook's Apprentice by Stephanie Alexander [©Penguin Books Ltd ]


Whilst The Cook’s Apprentice is aimed at younger cooks who are only just beginning to push past regular kitchen routines, it still holds many a great recipe and more than a few words of wisdom for the seasoned cook.  With its help, all will become more relaxed and confident in the kitchen.

Arranged alphabetically The Cook’s Apprentice includes 54 ingredient chapters and more than 300 achievable recipes. The recipes cover the classics as well as more exciting ones that reflect the  diversity of Australia’s cultures. Classics include recipes like Apple Crumble; Banana Smoothie; Strawberry Shortcakes; Soda Bread; Chocolate Brownies; Pavlova; and Caramelised Onion.

More interesting recipes include things like Barbecued Asparagus with Soy Sauce; Broccoli Carbonara; Middle Eastern Cauliflower Fritters and Vietnamese Chicken Pho. There is a serious amount of great recipes in this book – perfect for those wanting to hone their skills in cooking.

The ingredient-based chapters are expertly put together by a chef with years of experience, and who knows how to distil it into a discernable and easily understood format.

For example the first ingredient-based chapter is ‘Apples’. The chapter gives a little bit of background information (but not too much) then proceeds to cover whether apples have seasons, whether they are all the same, what types should be chosen for different styles of cooking and the best ways to prepare them. This is a fairly standard and helpful setup for most ingredient chapters in the book.

The first 70 or so pages of The Cook’s Apprentice are devoted to things like:

  • kitchen equipment
  • measurements
  • techniques
  • ingredient identifiers (a run down on ingredients mentioned and used in the book).

Basically it's a lot of wisdom being handed down from someone who really knows their way around a kitchen.

In ‘Techniques’ various cooking methods are explained and linked via page number to the recipe/s that make use of them throughout the book. Everything that someone who wants to learn how to cook, and how to impress through their cooking, is included here.

There are however no glorious photos of delicious food, but there is a lot of fantastic advice for learners and recipes that are tried, tested and that will make mouths water.

If you know any budding chefs, or anyone who wants to return to form, The Cook’s Apprentice would make an excellent gift for them. Even for the seasoned cook this book still holds some great recipes and more than a few words of wisdom.

After living with and cooking from The Cook’s Apprentice over the last few weeks my family highly recommends the recipes for ANZAC Cookies and Quick Coconut Fruit Cake. 

All in all, this book is another wonderful addition to the Stephanie Alexander catalogue!


A little bit about Stephanie Alexander for those new to the Australian culinary scene:

Stephanie Alexander is the best-selling author of seventeen books, including her most popular tome, The Cook’s Companion.

She has been a columnist for Australian newspapers and magazines and travelled  widely across both Europe and Asia. Her interests extend to how cultural backgrounds influence food practice and lauding those who produce or grow fine produce. Stephanie’s restaurant ‘Stephanie’s’ was regarded as an essential Melbourne culinary experience.

Stephanie Alexander was awarded an Order of Australia in 1994 for her services to the hospitality industry and tourism, and for encouraging young apprentices.

In 2004 she established the not-for-profit Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Stephanie became an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work as part  of this organisation.


Read more about The Cook's Apprentice here »

The Cook's Apprentice by Stephanie Alexander is published by Lantern, an imprint ot Penguin Random House (Sydney, NSW; Oct 2018; Hb; RRP A$45.00). It is available at all good bookshops and can be found to purchase online via »


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May 22nd, 2019
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