• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

"Formulas for Flavour" – John Campbell

10 posts in this topic

I am very curious about this title, but my local libraries do not have it and I always hate buying cookbooks I don't end up using.

Can anyone tell me whether or not they like this cookbook and how many dessert/pastry/bread recipes it has?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's kind of a cross between The Cook's Book and David Everett-Matthias's Essence, if that's any help. :smile:

Everyone I've ever recommended it to has agreed it's one of the best cookbook's around. The recipes are all really strong, maybe not as complex as Thomas Keller's, but what really makes it worth owning is the way it shows the (experienced) home cook how to replicate restaurant-level food - Campbell has just been given a 2nd Michelin star - without killing themselves with stress.

On the surface the book just shows how to recreate a bunch of starters, mains and desserts, with little reference info for stuff like bread or pastry, but by including step-by-step instructions and photos for each stage of every dish, along with useful explanations about which elements can be prepared in advance, it actually imparts loads of great practical knowledge.

restaurant, private catering, consultancy
feast for the senses / blog

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good book. Relatively complex recipes, but a lot of hard science and explanation behind it and step by step pictures. Gives you a lot of comfort the recipes will actually WORK despite the complexity.

Not massively long but longer than the Champ Sauv book (whos brevity was its only weakness). Normal balance of starter/main/pudding recipes

Def worth getting.

Better than the restaurant, in my experience


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Its OK, but now a little dated and nothing that is not done elsewhere.

Lots of pictures, and I use the roast onion icecream recipe.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The weekend before last, as a minor celebration of Chef Campbell’s promotion to the 2-star elite, I had a small dinner party based exclusively on some the of ‘Formulas for Flavour’ book.

The menu was:-

Roast scallop with artichoke barigoule

Turbot, braised ox tail, parsley & lemon oil

Citrus soufflé, hot chocolate ice cream

First thing to say was – the recipes look far less impressive than the taste they deliver. The flavours build on each other to create an impressive and substantial result.

Initially the quantities seemed over generous, but they worked out fine.

The recipes are generally detailed but, despite all the notes, and ‘do this now’ instructions, they are a bit disorganised and need much more careful planning if you are working on your own. I didn’t have any of the basic, starting materials and, from start to finish, it took 11 hours preparation spread across 2 days.

The second thing to be aware of is the cost of ingredients. I don’t have access to a) kitchen wholesalers or b) US food prices which can be significantly below London costs. Total ingredient cost for the menu was around US$175 for four persons. With the very large number of top-quality ingredients, the costs add up quickly. Unlike Essence which uses a lot of obscure herbs, most of the ingredients are easily found (at least in London).

I would absolutely recommend this book, but beware the troublesome journey to arrive at 2-star nirvana. The book is not expensive compared with some other personality chefs, but the binding is not of the best quality.

PS There are 10 starters, 10 mains and 10 desserts, plus a range of stocks and sauces (6 bread types).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

can you tell me what some of the desserts are? I have no idea other than the souffle, and a peach tart with black pepper ice cream.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dessert recipes:

Roast Plums, Honey and Yogurt Ice Cream

Chocolate and Griottine Clafoutis

Bitter Chocolate Tart, Parsnip Ice Cream

White Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Milkshake

Citrus Soufflé, Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Panna Cotta with Raspberries

‘Rhubarb and Custard’

‘Strawberry Shortcake’, Balsamic Ice Cream

Tarte Fine of Peach, Pepper Ice Cream

Tatin of Pear with Roquefort and Pickled Walnut Ice Cream

I have only tried the soufflé recipe from the dessert section and, in case you wonder, the ‘Hot Chocolate’ is not hot, it’s drinking chocolate. It was relatively simple to do. The soufflé rose as smoothly and evenly as could be hoped for, only I probably overcooked it by a couple of minutes as the texture was just very slightly rubbery on top. The dish had a great taste and looked great on the plate. The hot chocolate ice cream is really unforgettable (in a good way).

As with all the recipes in the book, most of these have multiple ingredients and are restaurant dishes. The photos are helpful both in illustrating the techniques and the final presentation.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great buy! And not as big of an investment as other books out there. Buy it, you wont be disapointed!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By Paul Fink
      This unfortunately titled book changed my life. I always enjoyed cooking and idealized Julia Child &
      Jacque Pepin. But I was a typical home cook. I would see a recipe and try to duplicate it little understanding about what I was doing.
      Cooking the Nouvelle Cuisine in America talked about a philosophy of cooking. It showed me that there is more depth to cooking. A history. A philosophy.
      The recipes are very approachable and you can make them on a budget from grocery store ingredients. I read it as a grad student in Oregon, in the late 80's I had access to lots of fresh ingredients. And some very nice wines, cheap! I was suppose to be studying physics but I end up learning more about wine & cooking.
    • By Smokeydoke
      Here is the discussion thread.
      Here is the Amazon link.
      My first recipe was Mushroom Mapo Tofu p. 132  I was blown away by how good this tasted. Very spicy! Very authentic. I didn't miss the meat at all. I told Mr. Smokey I'd add ground pork next time and he said it didn't need it. Mr. Smokey refused pork? Ha!
      Definitely a keeper and maybe a regular rotation spot.
      If I had anything negative to say, it would be the dish wasn't very filling. The recipe is suppose to serve four but the two of us finished it off, no problem, and Mister wasn't full afterwards. A soup, or an appetizer could be paired with the dish to make a heartier meal.
      Note: I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review, but all opinions of the book and recipes are mine.

    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Started in on Rob's book tonight.  Nice pictures, interesting philosophy.  The bit about grapevines reminded me ever so much about my balcony.  My grapevine has been growing ten or twenty years, planted by the birds.  Never a grape, ever.  Only recently did I learn that unlike European grapes, the native grapevines are sexual.  This one is undoubtedly a boy.  He provides lovely leaves and shade, and something for the tomatoes to hang onto.
    • By Bon Appetit Cookbooks
      This topic was hijacked from the Vancouver Board.
      What cookbooks do you love to cook out of at home?
      Is there a specific recipe that is your favorite?
      Or is there a book you just can't live without?
      If you have pictures, even better! Lets see how it turns out!
      Some of my favorites to cook out of:
      The Balthazar Cookbook - The Beef Tartar is amazing! As is the Chicken Liver Mousse
      The Babbo Cookbook - The Strawberries & Peaches with Balsamic Zabaglione
      Barefoot in Paris - The Blue Cheese Souffle looks JUST LIKE THE PICTURE!
      The Bouchon Cookbook - The Roast Chicken will seriously change your life
      Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy - The Chocolate Pots are the easiest dessert in the world and tastes so good....especially with the Amedei #7
      There are lots more. Hopefully I can take pictures and show you.
      Hopefully this post can be an ongoing thing.
      I think we are all interested in what eachother cooks!
      Happy Cooking

    • By Dave the Cook
      Those of us that have been following Rob Connoley's (aka gfron1) trek from home cook to down-and-literally-dirty locavore James Beard-semi-finalist chef are justifiably proud of his well-deserved transformation to a published author, which he has faithfully detailed in an earlier topic. If you're not familiar with his story, I urge you to catch up, then come back here, because we're ready to move on to the next step.
      Rob's book, Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm & Field, is finally, officially available. This alone is awesome news, and you should totally order your copy today. Or . . . 
      . . . we want to continue the conversation about Rob, his book and his future plans in this topic. And just to up the awesomeness, Rob is offering a free book to a randomly selected participant here.
      Simply post a question or comment in this topic between now and 11:59 p.m. CST (US), 13 September 2016 and you'll be eligible to "win," based on a random drawing to be conducted, with each participant getting one chance, not including Society volunteers (and Rob himself. Multiple posts will not improve your chances, so don't get overheated.)  The winner will be announced on 14 September.
      Rob will be along shortly to add his encouragement and whatever late-breaking news he has -- he's busy guy these days, so be patient -- but there's no need to wait to post questions or comments.
      P.S. And if you don't win, you should still get this book.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.