Book Review – Edible Selby

The Edible Selby Front Cover © Todd Selby

Todd Selby’s website The Selby has been a favourite online destination for us, it is a wealth of interiors and trends inspiration, for many years he has curated the interiors of different people – revealing their personality and quirks through their belongings. Through this creative work, he has become more and more curious about people’s kitchens, their refrigerators and how we eat. His most recent book “Edibly Selby” is a celebration of food obsessives and creatives, people who have a vocation for creating food.

It’s not a recipe book per se, instead it’s a global culinary encyclopedia featuring local pockets of people passionate about food and eating it. Unlike other food books, Edible Selby doesn’t feel as if it has been styled by a number of food stylists, photographers and assistants – instead here it’s just Todd Selby and his camera capturing the everyday and food of a bakery, restaurant, fishmongers or vinery.

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Brooklyn New York © Todd Selby

Todd starts his journey in San Francisco, he was born and grew up in Orange County slightly further down the West Coast – so he starts close to home. It’s an interesting story – Mission Chinese Food – a Chinese restaurant started inside another Chinese restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, San Francisco. The two restauranteurs Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint had little capital at the start so created a restaurant inside a restaurant, they meld American Chinese food with California cuisine and touches of Oklahoma barbecue like white bread and Coca-cola sauce.

Towpath, London © Todd Selby

Todd travels further afield on his culinary journey, he explores London featuring Violet Cakes in Hackney, Towpath in Haggerston and St John’s in Spitalfields. He spends the whole day with his chosen spot, photographing them in action (there’s a great shot of Fergus Henderson enjoying his elevenses break of seed cake and a glass of madeira) and chats to them about their food and menus.

Violet Cakes, London © Todd Selby

Some of the most beautiful photos are taken outside of your usual restaurant and cafe, and feature the food suppliers and part-time restauranturs – an un-manned eating spot in the hills of Italy, just help yourself to Prosecco from the fridge and delicious salami direct from the factory. The Nordic Food Lab is a food research laboratory housed on a houeboat in Copenhagen, they research “old and new techniques and raw materials” of Nordic cookery, they have been examining and experimenting with seaweed and other wild foods. Sa Forada is a paella restaurant in Mallorca that is only accessible by boat or climbing a fence and hiking, Yoshida Farm is a cheese-making facility in the heart of rural Japan and Rockaway Taco is a part-time taco shack in Queens, New York – only open when the owner Andrew Field isn’t chasing the surfing waves around the world.

Edible Selby is a real foodie celebration, Todd has explored and met a collection of personalities who all celebrate food and its vibrancy in their often very different fields. A great book for your favourite foodie (and we also loved the fridge magnets!).

Edible Selby by Todd Elby

Edible Selby by Todd Selby is published by Abrams