Back in 2015, Daniel Clifford was becoming a famous face in the cheffing world and a TV regular – he had been a finalist and later a judge on the BBC cookery programme Great British Menu, and was a regular on Saturday Kitchen. As the chef patron of two-Michelin-starred restaurant Midsummer House, Daniel had been asked to contribute a foreword to our Cambridgeshire Cookbook, and through this we began a conversation about the cookbook he wanted to create of his own.
Having full creative control over the book was very important to Daniel, which was a large part of what Meze had to offer; we don’t expect our authors to compromise their vision and this was very appealing to his exacting nature. He also saw the book as a wise investment opportunity, having established a solid fan base as a highly acclaimed and influential chef. The book’s specification changed significantly during the lengthy production process, beginning at 224 pages and eventually reaching over 400. One of the key reasons for this was allowing Daniel to frame his spectacular dishes within lots of white space, letting the food photography speak for itself. It also became an autobiography as well as a cookbook, resulting in a very personal and honest reflection of who he was and his journey up to the book’s publication in 2018.
Out of my Tree sold around 10,000 copies and enjoyed plenty of press coverage, from food writer Andy Lynes calling it “the new White Heat” to glowing endorsements from Daniel’s fellow high-profile chefs, including Tom Kerridge, Monica Galetti, and Raymond Blanc. It was stocked in Nisbets – the only book so far successfully sold by the company, thanks to its broad appeal for other chefs – and reaped the benefits of Daniel’s sphere of influence with fans and peers across the industry.
Phil Turner, who led the process at Meze from start to finish, describes the best thing about the book as its “pure expression of Daniel himself: it showcases his precision with food, which was like watching an artist with a canvas, as well as the story of his personal and professional life which captured Daniel really well. He loved the finished book for that reason and was very proud of it.”Out of My Tree – Midsummer House
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