River Café Launches Children’s Cookbook, Photographic Feast

The River Café’s children’s cookbook is a feast of food and photography

River Café Look Book is a new cookbook for children from famous London restaurant and famous photographer Matthew Donaldson

London’s iconic Michelin-starred restaurant, The River Café, has just launched a new cookbook, The River Café Look Book: Recipes for Kids of All Ages.

The first half of the book is, as its name suggests, a “lookbook” with dazzling diptychs by Matthew Donaldson, longtime contributor to Wallpaper*, associations of contemporary photography and food who, whether through color, shape or theme, echo each other. .

Strawberry sorbet. Photograph by Matthew Donaldson. Courtesy of Phaidon.

Suits include a candy pink rotary phone next to a tray of strawberry sorbet; vibrant green and yellow tulips next to mashed potatoes with green beans; and a man’s slicked red hair topped off with a dose of chocolate truffles.

The evocative images are a feast for the eyes that demonstrate how cooking can be an expression of both visual and culinary creativity. “We want these connections to give you a story to uncover, a mystery to solve,” write River Café founder Ruth Rogers and co-executive chefs Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli in the cookbook’s introduction. ‘Cooking is more than a science, rigorous and measured.’

Spaghetti bowl. Photograph by Matthew Donaldson. Courtesy of Phaidon.

They add: “It is also an art – a picture on a plate. Cooking involves all of your senses. Above all, it involves your imagination.

The second half of the book is a more traditional cookbook format, with 50 Italian recipes. Although this is a children’s cookbook, it is also a River Café cookbook and it goes without saying that the recipes in it are more complex than noodles and butter. There are recipes for creamy spaghetti carbonara; spinach and prosciutto frittata; and a sweet pressed chocolate cake, among many others, easy enough for children to cook and tasty enough to satisfy adults. §

Michael E. Marquez