The Passionate Cook: The Very Best of Karen Barnaby


300 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55285-525-2
DDC 641.5





Photos by Jenn Walton
Reviewed by Debbie Feisst

Debbie Feisst is the reference/Internet resources librarian in the
Information Services Division of the Edmonton Public Library.


Karen Barnaby, executive chef at the acclaimed Fish House in
Vancouver’s Stanley Park, tempts us with some favourite recipes from
her popular cookbooks—The Low-Carb Gourmet, Pacific Passions,
Screamingly Good Food, The Girls Who Dish—as well as some new ones.

The recipes are organized in sections: Appetizers, Soup, Salads, Pizza,
Pasta and Risotto, Fish, Meat, and Vegetables. A nice touch is the
inclusion of no less than five separate sweet categories Cakes, Cookies,
Desserts, Pudding and Pies, and Muffins. A dog food recipe is thrown in
for good measure.

Each recipe is prefaced by a brief introduction that discusses
variations, offers menu suggestions, and sometimes includes personal
recollections. Recipes include Garlicky Goat Cheese with Yam Puree,
Clubhouse Chicken Salad with Green Goddess Dressing, White Clam
Linguine, Halibut with Curried Apple Butter, Grilled Flank Steak with
Cumin Aioli, and Fresh Ginger and Buttermilk Cake. The style tends
toward Pan-Asian, and the fish dishes in particular are plentiful and
divine—a testament to Barnaby’s West Coast approach to food. While
the recipes are aimed at intermediate cooks, instructions are easy to
follow. Some ingredients, however, may only be found in specialty food
shops. The recipes are generally designed to produce four to six
servings. Sadly, there are only 16 mouth-watering pictures in the entire
book, and no sections dealing with cooking terms or nutritional

Many of Barnaby’s recipes are blessed with liberal amounts of butter
and whipped cream, so while this book is not for everyday cooking, it
does provide a nice collection of special dishes for those who enjoy
fresh foods made with fresh ingredients.


Barnaby, Karen., “The Passionate Cook: The Very Best of Karen Barnaby,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 20, 2024,