Al Brown, bestselling cookbook writer, is also the chef behind Depot (www.eatatdepot.co.nz), 2012 Metro Supreme Restaurant of the Year, as well as Metro’s Best New Restaurant and Best Casual Bistro. In 2012 Al was awarded Audi Progressive Restaurateur of the Year. In 2013 he was named Cuisine magazine’s Villa Maria Estate Restaurant Personality of the Year, and the Depot gained a ‘one hat’ rating. He also runs Best Ugly Bagels in Auckland (www.bestugly.co.nz), and was co-founder of the internationally acclaimed restaurant Logan Brown in Wellington, with Steve Logan.
Al is the author of Stoked, Go Fish and Get Fresh. Go Fish won People’s Choice and Best Illustrated Book in the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards (judge Neville Peat described it as a recipe book ‘with edge and attitude’), won Best Single Subject at the highly regarded International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards in the USA, and won a 2011 Book Quill at the New Zealand Guild of Food Writer’s Culinary Quill Awards. He also wrote Hunger for the Wild with Steve Logan.
He is the star of TV series Dishing Up Australia, Get Fresh, Coasters and Hunger for the Wild.
Al gained a Culinary Arts Degree at the United States’ New England Culinary Institute, and then cooked in restaurants In North America and New Zealand. He has hosted master classes at Melbourne Food and Wine, at Savour and at Ruth Pretty’s Springfield Cooking School. Since 2003 he has been a culinary ambassador for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. In 2012 Al was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services as a chef. See more at www.albrown.co.nz, and check out the vimeo link at https://vimeo.com/user18895198/videos.
The Herald on Sunday declared Go Fish is ‘destined to become a classic Kiwi cookbook’, while Healthy Options said it ‘represents New Zealand cuisine at its very best’. Trade-A-Boat praised it as ‘an inspiring and well thought out book that stimulates’, written in an ‘engaging and funny’ tone. The Sunday Star Times wrote of Brown’s ‘gentle and informative hand’ and said that it ‘is in the simplicity and elegance of the recipes that this book really excites … [and] inspires’, making the desire to rush to the nearest fish market ‘nigh on irresistible’.
The Gisborne Herald praised Brown’s ‘natural, endearing style’, identifying ‘simplicity [as] the backbone of all the recipes’, and concluding that the book’s success would be evident in the coming months with the book ‘ingredient-stained’; The Press concurred — ‘it is fast becoming the filthiest book in my kitchen. As all cooks know, it’s the splatters and the spills that identify a best book. Go Fish is a winner.’
The Dominion Post Weekend pointed out its usefulness as ‘a practical manual’ on everything to do with the preparation of fish and shellfish. Writing for the Nelson Mail, Elizabeth Latham wrote: ‘For those of us who love the notion of the hunter-gatherer, this is a dream book. … The book is littered with anecdotes and stories of places and tips about fishing, and how to handle fish, and how to prepare it for cooking … I don’t think there is another book like it, and … I think this book is a must for all those who love to fish and also love to cook.’
The Greymouth Evening Star called it ‘an outstanding book — whether you treat it as a cookbook, a seafood reference book or just enjoy the great stories that are woven throughout it … Al Brown’s homage to fish is a must for the kiwi bookshelf’.
In The Press, Kate Fraser, reviewing Stoked, wrote ‘Brown writes as he speaks: directly, honestly, and with plenty of opinion and knowledge’, while Cuisine magazine praised his ‘engaging voice’ in Get Fresh. D Scene called Get Fresh ‘a cracking good read’ and a ‘great food book to savour’ and Dish singled out his ‘trademark relaxed style’ paired with ‘enthusiasm’, with the Dominion Post Weekend’s Kimberley Rothwell declaring it ‘a true foodie’s book’. The New Zealand Herald called it ‘a book that will be just as handy in the car on a road trip as it is in the kitchen’.