The best food books of 2017

Pull up a chair and pour yourself a glass as Pat Nourse surveys the best page-turners of 2017.

OSTRO BY JULIA BUSUTTIL NISHIMURA
($44.99, Pan Macmillan)
Judge this book by its cover: a big cake, glasses of something fizzy and fun, a big loaf of bread, a random pumpkin, crushed linen and Julia Busuttil Nishimura sitting amongst it all, looking supremely relaxed. Cut us a slice.
The dish: a dependable cabbage salad.

IGNI BY AARON TURNER
($60, Hardie Grant)

It's easy to become absorbed in the searing candour with which Victorian chef Aaron Turner details the personal crises that were the genesis of this brilliant Geelong restaurant. But this book also stands as a testament to the potency of Turner's ideas, whether it's the roasted chicken skin with whipped cod roe or buttered potato noodles with anchovies and jamón.
The dish: broccoli heart, macadamia and cabbage oil.

LISBOETA BY NUNO MENDES
($49.99, Bloomsbury)
Nuno Mendes is best known in London for his progressive cooking at Viajante and Chiltern Firehouse, but it's the straighter Portuguese food he serves at Taberna do Mercado that gets our vote, and it's a thrill to see him now capture the essence of Lisbon, his home town, in this beautiful book. Crack a cold Sagres and dive in.
The dish: pork sandwich with chouriço butter.

HONG KONG FOOD CITY BY TONY TAN
($49.99, Murdoch Books)
What gourmet traveller doesn't dream of a guided tour of Hong Kong by Tony Tan? Here one of the world's great food cities meets one of our greatest students of Asian food in a deep-dive into its most essential restaurants, keystone dishes and fundamental ingredients.
The dish: Cantonese claypot rice.

WD-50 BY WYLIE DUFRESNE
($US75, Ecco)
Publishers have been less keen of late on restaurant books calling for gram measurements of powdered unicorn horn and lacto-fermented wasp's nipples. This celebration of late, great Manhattan restaurant WD-50 is an exception. It records the essentials of banana-tendon veil, deep-fried mayonnaise and foie gras tied in knots with bracingly down-to-earth writing. Charge your soda siphons.

The dish: lime-leaf churros.

FINDING FIRE BY LENNOX HASTIE
($60, Hardie Grant)
It might be "cooking at its most elemental" but elegance is as much a signature for Sydney chef Lennox Hastie as his obsession with the coals. With a gentle, skilled hand he grills peas in their shells to pair with jamón, brûlées sweetcorn with hot iron, tosses school prawns with chilli and saltbush in mesh over "medium intense embers" and uses grapevines to cook steak like it was born to be cooked.
The dish: grilled caviar.

REAL FOOD BY MIKE MCENEARNEY
($45, Hardie Grant)
Is there a greater champion of keeping it real in the kitchen in Sydney than Mike McEnearney? A former Rockpool head chef, he made his name putting the produce in produce-driven food at Kitchen by Mike and No 1 Bent Street, and the likes of the roast chicken with grapes and tarragon, or his coconut bread with blackberry butter found here locate that perfect balance between tasteful and tasty.
The dish: chopped salad of iceberg, corn and jalapeño.

THE TIVOLI ROAD BAKER BY MICHAEL JAMES
($60, Hardie Grant)

Want the secrets behind the Little Melbourne Bakery That Could? Michael and Pippa James spill the (baked) beans on their chocolate buckwheat cookies, coconut blossom palmiers and Cornish pasties - and introduce their favourite producers along the way.
The dish: Eccles cakes.

FEAST FOR THE EYES BY SUSAN BRIGHT
($US60, Aperture)
Whether it's roasting duck with Man Ray, crawling through garbage with Cindy Sherman, breakfasting with Sandinista guerrillas in Nicaragua or getting sensual with choucroute garnie with Guy Bourdin, this survey of food in photography is as much a feast for the imagination as it is the eye.


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