Organum – Peter Gilmore
Murdoch Books – 2014
Photographer: Brett Stevens

Peter Gilmore’s basic introduction is that flavour, texture, technique, aroma, culture and innovation combine to create a harmonious dish.

Organum refers to the idea that multiple harmonies can create a new sound.

The layout and physical qualities of Organum magnificently reflect the idea in the book. Colour is used, or taken away, as necessary. Pages are textured. Some pages are sparse and some crowded. There are profiles throughout of the people involved, the ideas and the ingredients. The text is easy to read and simple. in short, this is a beautiful book, full of beautiful ideas.

Organum is not the first coffee table cookery book, I hope that it’s not the last, but it’s one of the best. Read it cover to cover and then flick through again. the detail is so exacting that it’s always a joy to pick up. Now, being honest, this isn’t something that I’ll cook from often. It’s an inspiration as much as a recipe book, but most of the recipes are certainly achievable. As with any top chefs cookbooks, there are a few dishes that are just out of reach of the home cook.

There is a lot of fish (it’s Aussie after all) but beyond that there is a very wide range of ingredients used. Veggie and meat, sweet and savoury. Quite a few of the things used will be unfamiliar, especially in the UK. A lot of the recipes involve a lot of time, and a lot of intricate steps. There is not a dish in Organum that I don’t want to eat, I’ve never said that before. A few I might not be bold enough to make but I do want to try them all.

Gilmore writes passionately, not just about food but about the whole process from seed (of plant or idea) right through to the final plated dish. Step by step we can see where all of the dishes came from.

My favourite dishes are the Walnut Floss, Bitter Chocolate Black Pudding, Fungi; the Jersey Cream, Prune, Salted Caramel, Milk & Sugar Crystals; and the Celery Heart, Aged Feta, Rare Herbs and Flowers.

This is an art book for food lovers – it’s sublime and shows so clearly the inherent beauty of Gilmore’s food, ideas, ingredients and environment. An absolute must read for anyone who loves food.


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