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River Cafe
Look Book

‘A whimsical cookbook to delight young and old.’ – The New York Times

The intriguing and inspirational images that open this book encourage readers to connect the food they will cook with the world around them in new and sometimes surprising ways. Part look-book, part cookbook, this sure-fire bestseller encourages kids of all ages to connect with food and achieve great results – with The River Cafe as their teacher and inspirational guide.

The vivid and playful pages of this witty and innovative book showcase garden-fresh meals such as Smashed Broad Bean Bruschetta, Fusilli Zucchini, and Raspberry Sorbet, along with new versions of River Cafe classics, including a delectable lemon tart, a luxurious chocolate torte, and tasty pesto.

Having already worked with photographer Matthew Donaldson on the previous iteration of the cookbook (along with myriad other River Cafe projects), Rogers joined executive chefs Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli in trawling through Donaldson’s archives for pictures that could run alongside snaps of the River Cafe’s dishes. Among the evocative juxtapositions the group ultimately chose to include within the book’s 100 “Look” pages: brown lentils next to autumn leaves scattered across a pavement; a meringue that echoes the texture of a classical sculpture; and spaghetti alle vongole topped with chili next to wilted red tulips.

‘I don’t think of it as a children’s book,’ says Matthew. It may be ‘accessible to children’ with ‘lots of pictures at the front, but that’s just a way of holding people… We’re making it entertaining to make sure people stay… keeping someone’s interest, to get them to the main event at the back.’ And you’re certainly unlikely to find spaghetti alle vongole or monkfish wrapped in pancetta in most children’s cookbooks – this is not a publication to be banished ‘to the kid’s section.’

Every element, from Matthew’s photographs, to the refined recipes, arresting graphic design and the weighty, matte paper (for which Ruthie extends ‘a huge round of applause to the printers in Italy’) is a testament to the collaborative vision of everyone involved behind the scenes. She summarizes: ‘The one thing about The River Cafe in all my experience is that whatever happens… there is never compromise on the quality of anything.’

Matthew Donaldson

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