I have been looking for a bright clean cookbook for quite some time now. I personally love to cook with everything fresh using farm-fresh produce, vegetables and fruits from the market to create simple, yet colorful dishes that will be good for my family. I try to always start with the ingredient, rather than a particular recipe, and see what I can make with what I have on hand.

I believe this cookbook is quite similar in the style to how I cook at home for my family. This book though is full of professional recipes, freshness of the California coast, and a sense of family and home. Even though Helen, the author of the book, is a restaurant chef, the dishes have that print of them of being cooked for a family, home style, served on a big platter for everyone to share.

When I look at the pictures in the book, they look a lot like photos that I take – somewhat good, made with a professional camera, and yet having those shades and shadows that make them look more authentic, more realistic, not so air-brushed. All the photos show the food just as it is being served – often showing Helen’s hands, and a crowd of people who are celebrating the joy of the day with her! This book is full of life, passion for food and friends, and professionalism of a real life chef – there is nothing fake in or about this book. You can see the author and her family and friends being part of every page of the book – nothing here has been created by a hired PR team, and the book seems really inviting that way – it is realistic, authentic and gives a glimpse of California food scene without having to fly to California.

The food in this book looks inviting, and delicious, you can clearly see every dish with every photo. The ingredients are easy to find even if you are not in California, and it is so great to learn all the new tips that Helen gives – combining Mediterranean flavors using Californian ingredients and influences. This is one of the best new cookbooks I have seen in a while – I highly recommend getting it!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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