Take 6 Ingredients by Conrad Gallagher ***

Presentation obsessions Michelin-starred Irish chef Conrad Gallagher sets out the ethos of this book in the introduction. Each recipe is to contain just six ingredients – not counting salt (Maldon Sea Salt), pepper (freshly ground) and best quality olive oil.

Gallagher always has been a curious mixture of the inspired (his cooking) and the pretentious (his behaviour) and he cannot resist adding, in the introduction, that he dives for his own, hand-picked scallops. The recipes also bear this out. The home cook’s heart may sink when faced with recipes for Scrambled Eggs with Foie Gras, Truffle and Chives or Oysters with Caviar, Radish and Cucumber but, later in the book, you will also encounter recipes for relatively simple but taste-complex dishes including Lemon Soup, Smoked Chilli Buttered Sweetcorn and Caramelised Bananas with Lemongrass.

Just skip the last few lines of each recipe as Gallagher gives instructions on plating and presentation. For me, if I want something beautifully titivated on a plate, I choose to go to a restaurant. It’s not an ambition of mine for the home kitchen.

For all Gallagher’s presentation obsessions, there are some great recipes here. And yes, he does just use six ingredients. Well worth checking out and, if you’re trying to reach restaurant standards at home, this will be the book for you.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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3 Responses

  1. plum says:

    Hi CarolineI’ve been enjoying your site for a while and added it to mine but haven’t gotten around to leaving a comment!Just six? A pure six? I’d like a book which stuck to those guidelines. I have Jill Dupleix’s Take Three, which comprises recipes based around three main ingredients plus “staples”. But it’s the so called staples which are often missing from my cupboards – things like dashi powder or turkish bread! Perhaps if I went out and bought all the staples listed, then I’d use it more often!

  2. Barbara says:

    I had that particular Jill Dupliex book and gave it away as I just could not get into it. Maybe because I didn’t have the staples in the pantry also!

  3. Caroline says:

    Hmmm…the kind of staples that chefs and cooks sometimes think we keep in our cupboards are usually the sort of things that a well-equipped restaurant keeps on hand, rather than a home cook.

    I was quite impressed with Gallagher managing to keep to the bare six (with, as I said, olive oil, pepper and salt – things which I will admit to having plenty of) but some of his recipes have very esoteric ingredients as part of the six. There are plenty of do-able recipes, though, and I do intend on actually trying a few out soon.

    All this talk of Jill Dupleix’s Three has piqued my curiosity. I’ll have to take a look at it. Three sounds like altogether too slim a number to be making dinner out of unless, as you say, her pantry is exceptionally well stocked!

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