Best of the best

Celebrity chef and author Josh Emett. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Celebrity chef and author Josh Emett. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Josh Emett aimed to create a ‘‘bucket list’’ of recipes a home cook could make in their lifetime. Rebecca Fox discovers it became quite a mission.

Cooking a dish from recipes created by some of the top chefs in the world and publishing photographs of the dishes for the world to see did not come without some stress for celebrity chef Josh Emett.

''For them to allow me to cook and shoot their recipes I had to represent these chefs well. It was definitely an emotional experience.''

Copyright © Josh Emett
The Recipe, by Josh Emett with photography by Kieran E. Scott, published by Upstart Press, RRP $49.99.
Emett, who runs Rata and Madam Woo in Queenstown, is talking about his new cookbook The Recipe, which features recipes from 150 of the world's finest chefs and ranges from scrambled eggs to stuffed pig's trotter.

He called on friends and contacts from his many years in the business - including more than 10 years with Gordon Ramsay and working under Marcus Wareing at London's Savoy Grill - to ask chefs to supply a recipe for his book.

His aim was to create a ''food bible'' of the world's classic dishes made by top chefs. The chefs got to select from the list or contribute one of their own, one that resonated with them or they were known for.

''They had to represent food well.''

Emett ended up with 350 dishes from celebrity chefs such as Ramsay, Nigel Slater, Martha Stewart, Al Brown, Peter Gordon and Ray McVinnie as well as the ''cheffy chefs'' Daniel Alvarez, David Chang and Pierre Herme.

''These are idols; legends in the industry.

''It put me under some pressure. There were a lot of late nights and early mornings.''

As he made the recipes, he made note of tips and tricks to help home cooks make the dish, such as pan size, timing or how to use an ingredient.

''The type of things that if you get wrong, can send you sidweays.''

It has taken about two years to complete the book.

''It's an essential kitchen tool. It's been made to be beaten up and used in daily life, whether it's for a dinner party or to make breakfast.''

Emett hopes the cookbook will inspire cooks of all levels.

With the book behind him, Emett was looking to shoot ''a bit of stuff for TV'' relating to the book and engaging with some of the chefs who contributed.

Daryle Brantley’s mustard greens from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
Daryle Brantley’s mustard greens from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
Daryle Brantley's mustard greens

Complexity easy | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 1 hour | Serves 6-12

2 bunches turnip greens
3 bunches mustard greens
2 to 3 pieces of bacon, salt pork, short rib, ham hock (or any other meat of your choice)
1 small onion
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Wash the greens in cold water, rinsing each leaf front and back, then pull apart, discarding any large stems. Rinse again for good measure. Fry the bacon (or your choice of meat) just until brown in the pot you will use for the greens.

Cut the onion into small dice, then add to the pot with the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.

Fill the pot one-third full with water. Add seasoning to the pot, including the red pepper flakes, if using, then bring to the boil. Add the greens to the pot, a few at a time.

The hot water allows the greens to cook down faster. Cook, uncovered, until all the greens have cooked down into the liquid. You may need to add a little more water.

Now cover the pot and cook over a medium-high heat for 15 minutes, stirring as needed.

Adjust the seasoning if necessary, cover the pot, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes or until the greens have the desired consistency.

Josh's notes

Key element: Cook until the leaves are tender.

Tip: Cooking the bacon over a medium heat renders out the fat and maximises the flavour.

Comment: Good-quality smoky bacon will deliver the best flavour, but experiment with other meats, such as leftover ham hock or short rib.

Josh Emett’s rum baba from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
Josh Emett’s rum baba from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
Josh Emett's rum baba

Complexity moderate | Prep 45 minutes, plus proving time | Cook 2 hours 30 minutes | Serves 8-10


5½ tsp fresh yeast, or 2¾ tsp dried yeast
1 Tbsp (15ml) warm water
2 cups (250g) T45 flour (soft/cake flour)
½ tsp salt
¼ cup (45g) light-brown cane sugar/Demerara sugar
5 medium-sized eggs, whisked
6 Tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

1⅓ cups plus 2 Tbsp (350ml) water
¾ cup plus 2 tsp (170g) sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tsp (70ml) dark rum
1 vanilla bean
zest of 1 orange
1 stick cinnamon

Vanilla cream
1 cup plus 2 tsp (250ml) cream
1 tsp powdered/icing sugar
seeds from ½ vanilla bean

To make the cakes, dissolve the yeast in warm water and set aside for a few minutes until frothy on top.

Place the flour, salt, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer and use the paddle to mix for 1 minute, until combined. Add the yeast mix and mix until combined. Add the melted butter and continue mixing until the dough comes together loosely. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

When the dough is nearly doubled, grease muffin moulds with a little butter. Knock the dough down, then pour into the muffin moulds, filling them no more than two-thirds full. Cover and leave in a warm place to proof, about 45 minutes.

When the cakes are nearly ready, pre-heat the oven to 200degC and bake for 12 minutes, until golden all over. Remove from the oven and take the cakes out of the moulds. Allow to cool.

To make the syrup, place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature.

To make the vanilla cream, place the cream, powdered/icing sugar, and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl and whisk to soft peaks.

Soak cakes in the cooled syrup for 5 minutes, then place on a plate with a drizzle of syrup and serve with a quenelle of vanilla cream.

Josh's notes

Preparation: Find a warm spot to allow the dough to prove properly and in enough time.

The Ivy’s sticky smoked BBQ short ribs from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
The Ivy’s sticky smoked BBQ short ribs from The Recipe, by Josh Emett. Photo: Kieran E. Scott
The Ivy's (Gary Lee) sticky smoked BBQ short ribs

Complexity moderate | Prep 30 minutes, plus marination time | Cook time 2 hours | Serves 4


Rib marinade
800g baby back pork ribs
4 tsp Chinese five spice
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (50ml) light soy sauce
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (50ml) kecap manis (sweet soy)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper

Rib cooking liquor
1L chicken stock
cilantro/coriander stalks from the garnish
50g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass
3 lime leaves
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (50ml) light soy sauce

Rib glaze
125g miso paste
⅓ cup (75ml) vegetable stock
190g honey (I use Chinese honey)
50g maltose
1 Tbsp kecap manis

For smoking
wood chips

To serve
handful of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
4 green onions/spring onions, thinly sliced
20g toasted sesame seeds

Using a sharp knife, make incisions between the rib bones on both sides, being careful not to cut all the way through. Mix together the rib marinade ingredients and rub all over the ribs, including into the incisions.

Cover and marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.

Remove the ribs from the fridge and wipe off all excess marinade. Place the rib cooking liquor ingredients in a pan large enough to hold the ribs, and bring the liquor to the boil.

Add the ribs and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the ribs for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender, then remove from the liquid and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by heating the miso with the vegetable stock in a pan over a medium heat, whisking well to combine. Gently simmer to reduce the liquid until most has evaporated, then remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Rub some of the glaze on to the cooked ribs. If you have a smoker then follow the manufacturer's instructions; alternatively, a simple stove-top smoker can be made out of normal kitchen utensils. Place 2 handfuls of wood chips in the centre of a roasting tray, place a wire rack over the top and put the ribs on the rack.

Place this on the stove top and turn on to a moderate to low heat. Once the chips start smoking, cover the tray with foil and leave to gently smoke for about 1 hour, making sure to brush more of the glaze on to the ribs every 10 minutes. The ribs should be nice and sticky once finished.

Serve the ribs with the garnish ingredients scattered over the top.

Add a Comment


Ask a Chef Recipe Book ON SALE NOW! $29.99

The all-new Ask a Chef is available now! With fantastic recipes from the popular newspaper series, there is inspiration for everything from salads to chocolate cakes and quiches to sausage rolls - sure to impress at your next family or social gathering!

With a delicious mix of recipes from around the region including Riverstone Kitchen and Fleur's Place, there is something for everyone. Get your copy of Ask a Chef today !


Buy now from ODT Shop 

ODT subscriber only price - $25