Lesley Chesterman’s cookbook, Make Every Dish Delicious: Modern Classics and Essential Tips for Total Kitchen Confidence, starts with the basics: how to set up your kitchen. It’s a straightforward start to a book full of flavour and attention to detail and one that every home chef will appreciate. The book is full of helpful tips (“If you’re going to have just one variety [of potato] in your pantry, I’d opt for Yukon Gold.”), and there’s a whole chapter devoted to chocolate and butter (respectively), making this a must for anyone looking to master the basics, or to learn a bit more about classic recipes (roast chicken, anyone?). In short, there’s something for everyone. We spoke to Lesley about why she created this cookbook and what some of her own favourite recipes are.

What was your goal in creating this cookbook?

LC: As a former restaurant critic, I have developed an expectation of how a dish should taste (as in, after eating 25 bowls of fish soup, I know how I like my fish soup), so my goal was to share my interpretation of classic recipes according to those years of analysis. I also wanted to encourage people to cook and present basic advice that both beginner and advanced cooks might find helpful.

What are some of your favourite recipes from the book?

LC: Just last night I remade the Rigatoni with Sausages and Rapini. It’s heavenly with a nice Chianti! I also love the easy Chicken Kiev, the Thai Shrimp Curry, the Chocolate Cake, and the Lemon Tart. My book is always on my counter, and I cook from it daily.

What’s something that you wish every home cook knew?

LC: That cooking should be a pleasure and not a chore.

Where did you find inspiration for the recipes included in this book?

LC: Everywhere! From restaurant dishes to family favourites. I also own about two thousand cookbooks myself, so I always find inspiration from fellow cookbook authors. I’m sometimes inspired by a new pot or kitchen tool. Even TV shows. I recently started testing Baked Ziti recipes after watching The Sopranos!

What is your biggest tip for home cooks?

LC: I’d tell them that it takes a long time to become a really good cook, so cut yourself some slack when things go wrong and never throw in the towel. With a little practice, everyone can get a delicious dinner on the table.


Be sure to pick up Lesley Chesterman’s Make Every Dish Delicious: Modern Classics and Essential Tips for Total Kitchen Confidence, in stores now.