Chef John Bishop’s cookbook titled Fresh is centered on seasonal recipes and local foods.

Bishop states that his cookbook was inspired by Gary and Naty King, owners of Hazelmere Organic Farm, a sustainable family-managed organic vegetable farm in Surrey BC. The Kings supply much of the food for Bishop’s restaurant. The farm is about nourishing and educating the community about real, healthy food with a focus on healthy-lifestyle vs. a for-profit-business.

An excerpt by Gary King writes, “By late May…the Farmer’s markets begin, and we start to see dramatic increase in customers. I always look forward to this time, the sharing the food grown with love, effort and dedication and respect for the wilderness from which it comes, so that it can sustain our bodies and our communities.” (32)

The pictures Bishop has included about the King’s farm capture a way of life that is in-tune with nature and about respecting each other. They are having fun while looking after the earth.

King remarks on the importance of organic farming and on his working relationship with Bishop when he writes, “Once again we are reminded that food for all species is provided by healthy soil, and that the local farmland is where we get our food. Both of us agree that the taste and sustainability of local organic products are our preference, but that even those that are non-certified will make their way onto our table, as long as they are locally raised with care, but without genetically modified organisms (GMOS) or chemical sprays.” (152)

One of our favourite recipes in Fresh is a Shepherd’s (Lentil) Pie. It is delicious, healthy and a fun veggie twist on an old classic! If you want to make something truly decadent, try the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, an eggless Italian custard with orange and dried cranberry compote.

The sections of this cookbook are divided by seasons, which help highlight what is available locally at a particular time of year. Woven within this book is ideas for preserving the harvest, such as straight forward recipes for making your own fruit purees and fruit vinegars. There are tips for pickling your own vegetables, preserving herbs and for making pesto.

Fresh is a lovely ode to true Canadian produce and cooking. John Bishop’s interest in local fruits and vegetables is simply inspiring. He is dedicated to providing local organic food in his restaurant, Bishop’s, which has been opened since 1985 in Vancouver BC, Canada. He has written this cookbook in collaboration with two of Bishop’s chefs, Dennis Green and Dawne Gourley.

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