Literature is very much a source of inspiration for the kitchens we design at Johnny Grey Studios, whether to conjure creativity or explore how the latest neuroscience research might affect kitchen design. Here’s a list of several food and garden books Johnny has picked up this year, and he recommends you do the same. (And if you missed this last year, make sure to check out Johnny’s Most Delicious Reads from 2010.)
Since our outdoor kitchen for Alitex was opposite Cleve West’s show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, Johnny decided to go to Cleve’s talk about his new book Our Plot at Petersham Nurseries, near Richmond. Starting out gardening an allotment, Cleve ended up living there during the day, cooking and eating in a simple but sociable way with his newly-found extended family of gardeners. Our Plot details this with charm.
Dan Pearson’s newly published Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City is garden writing verging on poetry with photography to match. Colour in the Garden by Val Bourne, a subject Johnny always wants to learn more about, is very useful. Nicole de Vésian Gardens: Modern Design in Provence by Louisa Jones is inspirational and, from the English side of the Channel, a pleasurable fantasy.
There are two pillars of modern eating, according to Adam Gopnik author of The Table Comes First: the restaurant and the recipe. We’d like to add a third, the sociable home kitchen, which captures our core idea of kitchen design based on instinct.
Egon Ronay, a biography edited by JGS client Peter Bazalgette, is the story of a Hungarian immigrant succeeding in bringing food awareness to a grim post-war Britain, which probably suffered one of the worst dearths of decent ingredients and cooking in modern peacetime.
At Elizabeth David’s Table. Though written almost sixty years ago, these recipes stand out. They are delicious, authentic to their country of origin, and take us armchair travelling to the ‘blessed sun and shores of the Mediterranean’, as Elizabeth says. Johnny keeps it by his stove.