And the Sprouts go to...

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks is pleased to announce the winners of the Fourth Annual Sprouts Cookbook Award Winners:

In the Judge's Choice Category: Tender Volume 1 by Nigel Slater
In the People's Choice Category: The Tastes of Sonora Resort by Matthew Stowe

We will be celebrating these two wonderful books at a gala award ceremony on Thursday, April 8 at 6:00 pm.

Join us at this festive celebration of hors d'oeuvres catered by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala, wine, entertainment and the Sprout winning books. The highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the much coveted sterling silver Brussels sprout award.

Tickets are $75.00 and all proceeds go to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

Please call 604-688-6755 to purchase tickets.

Here are reviews of the Sprouts winners:

Tender by Nigel Slater

If all the authors of all the cookbooks in Barbara-jo’s book shop held a big party and I was somehow invited, it is Nigel Slater and a glass of wine who I would most want to keep company with. All of his cookbooks have the immediate effect of sweeping me off my feet and making me forget where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing. In his latest book, Tender, theses effects are tenfold and accompanied by a steady stream of extremely lovely thoughts rolling through my head, such as: “I’m going to make hot chocolate pudding and sit by the fire tonight” or “I’m going to plant a garden in my backyard and wake up in the early morning to ghostly fox prints in the fresh snow.”

And I know I’m not the only one with this long-distance crush on Slater and his books because I work at Barbara Jo’s and I’ve seen that goofy expression on many a customer’s face while flipping through Tender, and I’ve even been the recipient of some serious gushing from folks as they bring his new book up to the counter, explaining that they just must have it. I know. I understand completely. It’s romance, it’s poetry, it’s extremely delicious and comforting and slightly offbeat recipes all in one. It’s the kind of book that makes you fall in love with food, gardens, words, and of course, Nigel Slater.


The Tastes of Sonora Resort by Matthew Stowe

This restaurant cookbook is one of those rare breeds that defies the limitation of its paper form and somehow manages to make the reader feel as though they’ve been phsycially transported to the luxurious Sonora Resort and been fed its delicious, gorgeous food. Photographer Darren Bernaerdt must be applauded for matching the sterling artistry of Chef Matthew Stowe’s jaw-dropping talent with pitch-perfect images. The deep, shining lush purple of the ahi tuna on page 165! The crisp oranges and verdant lime-greens of the Summer Vegetable Tasting Plate! Every single photograph has been elegantly poised and shot at the moment of perfection —Bernaerdt deserves a standing ovation.

Of course, it is what the photos capture that makes this book so worth having. Chef Stowe’s genius comes across in his recipes that transform homey, humble foods and flavour combinations into truly brilliant and beautiful masterpieces. Lobster Mac n’ Cheese with creamy orzo and truffle foam personify this sleight of hand. One dessert, simply called Peanut Butter and Jelly, is another example. Using the classically soul-satisfying combination, Chef Stowe pairs rich peanut butter cookie with port wine-poached grapes, brioche ice cream, and port wine gelee. Utter magic.

Try a few recipes from this book —or just lose yourself in the photographs for a while— and you will feel as though you’ve escaped for a moment to beautiful Sonora.


Reviews by Katie Zdybel