In recent years, the culinary scene in Australia has been soaring. Not everywhere, but Sydney and Melbourne in particular have fabulous new restaurants with modern concepts. The Quay by Peter Gilmore and the Attica directed by Ben Shewry have received a lot of attention worldwide, not least thanks to the great books they have published in recent years.
It is only logical that Martin Benn, who runs Sepia in Sydney together with Vicki Wild, has now also published a cookbook. Sepia, or octopus, is not only the restaurant’s namesake, but also runs through many of Benn’s menus in culinary terms. Four of these menus, each with up to 15 courses, have found their way into the new book.
Over the total of about 60 recipes shows the culinary concept of sepia, especially the strong influences of Japanese cuisine. These influences are reflected not only in the products, but especially in the taste and texture of the dishes. In doing so, this book, similar to recent works by Shewry and Gilmore, also follows the narratives surrounding the restaurant. It takes the reader on the journey that ultimately led Benn to found Sepia in 2009. Without getting too carried away with the author’s exuberant presentation. Rather, the surrounding stories are derivations to the dishes and the inspirations and ideas behind them.
However, since many of the recipes are rather complex, it is this background and context that accounts for much of the book’s quality. In addition, Sepia is also exceptionally well done visually and haptically. The photographs by Gary Heery and Jennifer Soo contribute to this as much as the great layout and the extremely high-quality equipment.
What makes our personal story is created by much more than our hunger and will. What inspires us, what drives us … helps define the footprint we leave behind.
Martin Benn: Sepia
256 pages, publisher: Murdoch Books
Published 06 November 2014
Price: € 42,00
Ben Shewry: Origin – The Cookbook
Published March 11, 2013
Price: € 59,95
Peter Gilmore: QUAY -nature based cuisine
Published 26 June 2012
Price: € 69,90