The River Café kids’ cookbook is a feast of food and photography

Image pairing showing man's red hair and plate of chocolate truffles
Chocolate truffles
(Image credit: Photography by Matthew Donaldson. Courtesy of Phaidon)

London’s iconic Michelin-starred restaurant The River Café has just launched a new cookbook, The River Café Look Book: Recipes for Kids of all Ages

The first half of the book is, as the name suggests, a ‘look book’ with dazzling diptychs shot by longtime Wallpaper* contributor Matthew Donaldson, pairings of contemporary photography and food that, whether through colour, shape, or theme, echo each other. 

Pink telephone and strawberry sorbet

Strawberry sorbet

(Image credit: Photography by Matthew Donaldson. Courtesy of Phaidon.)

Combinations include a bubblegum-pink rotary phone alongside a tray of strawberry sorbet; vibrant green and yellow tulips shown next to smashed potatoes with green beans; and a man’s slicked-back red hair complemented by a shot of chocolate truffles. 

The evocative images are a feast for the eyes that demonstrates how cooking can be an expression of visual as much as culinary creativity. ‘We want these connections to give you a story to be found, a mystery to be solved,’ writes The River Café founder Ruth Rogers and co-executive chefs Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli in the cookbook’s introduction. ‘Cooking is more than just a science, rigorous and measured.’ 

Wilting tulips in vase and plate of spaghetti vongole

Spaghetti Vongole

(Image credit: Photography by Matthew Donaldson. Courtesy of Phaidon.)

They add, ‘It is also an art – a picture on a plate. Cooking involves all your senses. Above all, it involves your imagination.’ 

The second half of the book is a more traditional cookbook format, with 50 Italian recipes. While this is a recipe book for children, it is also a River Café cookbook and it goes without saying that the recipes included in it are more complex than noodles and butter. There are recipes for creamy spaghetti carbonara; spinach and prosciutto frittata; and sweet pressed chocolate cake, among many others, that are easy enough for kids to cook and flavourful enough to satisfy adults.

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.