The CookBook Club

On Monday night I attended my first ever CookBook Club dinner. The event takes place on the first Monday of each month in Dublin when a well known chef-author hands their cookbook over to a restaurant team to re-create/interpret a selection of signature dishes from his/her most recent cookbook.

After securing tickets, we travelled to Dublin especially for the occasion, and not having done my homework properly, I must admit I did have low expectations, or to be honest, no expectations, it was simply a midweek dinner date with Dave. However, it was soon apparent that I was sleeping under a rock for quite some time, as the din of other excited dinner guests joining the cookbook club event signaled some secret, but extremely popular foodie society, apparently this meet up was number nine in a series of cookbook club meets over the last year. In short I LOVED the whole concept and really enjoyed the entire evening!

Upon arrival we were greeted by the creator and director of “The CookBook Club“, Elaine Walsh, and were quickly shown to our table which suggested that another couple would be joining us for dinner. The whole premise of the Club is to network with other like minded foodie types. At first I was a little apprehensive, thinking that my night would be ruined trying to make small talk with total strangers, however, I needn’t have worried, we were paired with the loveliest couple that were so enthusiastic about food that the whole evening was turned up a notch spent in joyous discussion, banter and chat.

The Chef du jour for this particular night was the legendary michelin starred chef Derry Clarke. Derry is the proprietor and Executive Chef of L’Ecrivain, an award winning modern and contemporary restaurant  run by Derry and his wife, Sallyanne. Derry Clarke himself showed up on the night and spent his time going from table to table talking with guests, signing cookbooks and taking pictures with foodie groupies (myself included!).

The whole menu on the night was based around Derry’s recipes from his book “Not Just a Cookbook” which the chefs at Brasserie de Verres En Vers at the Raddisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 8 had to interrupt and deliver to a packed restaurant of over 100 diners. They needn’t have worried, the night was a total success, the menu provided a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts beside which page numbers for the associated recipes from the book were thoughtfully placed. Each dish was beautifully executed and tasted delicious.

I think Derry said it right when he made a speech at the end of the night to the packed room ” The simpliest of things often turn out the best”, I think he was referring to the idea and concept of “The Cookbook Club” , but I also like to think that he was also referring to cooking in general. There is definitely a beauty in simplicity.

Full details of the next CookBook Club can be found here

CookBook Club Menu – 5th March 2012


  • Cream of Spiced Parsnip and Coriander with Curry Oil  (Pg94)
  • Carpaccio of Aged Angus Beef with Wild Asparagus & Horseradish Oil (Pg132)
  • Ballotine of Irish Salmon with Lobster Salad & Tomato Fondue (Pg12)


  • Soy and Honey Glazed Pork Belly Confit with Onion Mash, Glazed Apricot, Apple & cider Froth (Pg173)
  • Pan Seared Sea Bass with Ratatouille Beurre Blanc, Caramelised Baby Fennell, Basil Mash & Black Olive Tapenade (Pg152)
  • Ricotta and Basil Gnocchi with French Beans & Sweet Mustard, Pine Nut Tapenade & Parmesan Froth (Pg177)


  • Sticky Fudge and Pecan Parfait with Macerated Berries & Chocolate Tuile  (Pg202)
  • Passion Fruit and White Chocolate Delice with Water Melon & Star Anis Consommé (Pg204)
  • Classic Vanilla Créme Brúlée with Lemon Curd Ice Cream. (Pg192)

DerryClarke with Deirdre Morrissey from AfternoonDlite



  1. Looks like a super night out… love it!

  2. Brilliant concept and write up Dee! It’s 6:36am here and I want all that food! And Dave… how do you make everything in the background of the photo go so white making the food the stand out? I want to learn how to photograph food – any hints from the expert?

    • Thanks Leo! those particular pictures from the Cookbook Club were taken using the iPhone. Will email you details on food photography..bit lengthy to include here! 🙂

  3. Cinnamon says:

    Wow! What a great idea! Sounds like a fun night missus. Another great read my friend x

  4. These shots are pretty much the worst ones yet. They were all taken on the iPhone in quite low light. If you are using the iPhone to take your photos then make sure to tap the screen on a dark area to expose the image for that part – it’ll then brighten up the image somewhat.
    try not to use flash either – it’ll add horrible dark shadows everywhere. Uuugh.

  5. This sounds like such a fun idea! Maybe I will pick a cookbook for book club when it is my turn to choose!

    • Its a great concept right? especially if you are already in a book club, why not combine that to review and choose recipes from a selected cookbook and talk about it? go for it! let us know how it goes! 🙂

  6. That food looks amazing! I’m very jealous. This cookbook club idea is great – hope it arrives (or has already) in Australia soon for me.

  7. I love this idea and I’m sure it would be so popular here! I wonder who I could get to organize it…not me! 🙂

  8. looks and sounds lovely ~ your photographs are beautiful.

    so nice to “meet” an irish lass ~ i lived in drogheda for a few months. i think ireland might be my favorite place on earth!

  9. Sounds like a great concept and a perfect evening!

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