Well-thumbed cookery books – April 2023

Once a month I’m going to write a short piece about one of my favourite cookery books from my extensive collection and why I’ve cooked so many recipes from it. Today I’m featuring another oldie but goodie, My Gastronomy by Nico Ladenis (1987).


Nico Ladenis is a chef of Greek descent, best known for his restaurants in the UK. He won three Michelin stars and his restaurant Chez Nico was rated ten out of ten by the Good Food Guide. In 1999, he handed back his stars due in part to ill-health and because of his disillusionment with the London restaurant scene.

We ate at his restaurant in Dulwich in the early 80s when we lived nearby in Upper Norwood. I subsequently bought the cookery book which is full of French classical recipes and lots of great advice. My copy is well-thumbed but hasn’t seen the light of day for a while.

Ladenis is a self-taught chef who did not attend any culinary schools. While working at his restaurant Chez Nico in Dulwich, London in 1976 or 1977 he met fellow chef Michel Roux at a party, who arranged for him to work for a week at the three Michelin star Moulin de Mougins under Roger Vergé.

In 1989, he opened a bistro-style restaurant in Pimlico, London, called Simply Nico. In 1992, Ladenis opened a new restaurant inside the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, entitled “Nico at Ninety”, and his former two Michelin star restaurant on Great Portland Street was converted into the bistro-style “Nico Central”. Nico at Ninety was subsequently renamed Chez Nico, where in 1995 the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars.

After giving up his Michelin stars, he  subsequently opened more restaurants: in 2000, Incognico opened on Shaftesbury Avenue; in 2002, Deca opened on Conduit street. He decided to step back from running restaurants in 2003, and retire fully from the business. His two daughters remained involved in both businesses.

2 Comments on “Well-thumbed cookery books – April 2023

  1. Fascinating. I had a number of recipe books, but only the Indian ones and the one I made myself from newspaper cuttings (still used by grandchildren) were well thumbed. When Jackie took over the cooking she dispensed with them all.

    Liked by 1 person

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