Meat London – The Book

A review by Gillian Riley

Edited by Guild member Jenny Linford, this endearing book is master-butcher Paul Grout’s account of a lifetime’s cheerful pursuit of skills, experience and above all self-knowledge. His instincts lead him to working with meat, both preparing and cooking it, and his current venture in Stoke Newington Church Street is the culmination of over thirty years’ enjoyable experience.

The book has over 90 recipes, presented with related colour photographs (uncaptioned), and lively commentaries. It would have helped to list the recipes on the Contents page, to give a sense of the scope of the book. The structure is unconventional, revolving around cooking techniques, rather than the meat, so lamb, beef and game can crop up under different headings, which makes for a lively read, and a sense of Paul’s undying enthusiasm. Generous tributes to colleagues and customers accompany photographs of the team at work. Nothing of the self-intoxicated prima donna chef here, just the honest down-to-earth account of a life-time’s experience, with a short autobiographical section telling of an early apprenticeship with the Roux brothers and stints with Harvey Nichols among many others.