Emi Kazuko, . . Pavilion, $40 (192pp) ISBN 978-1-86205-582-7

Well-written with complex techniques simply and economically illustrated, this volume offers a fantastic collection of internationally inspired recipes from 20 contributing chefs, accompanied by tantalizing photos by Gus Filgate. Food writer Kazuko briefly traces the history of the Zen Buddhist tea ceremony and its evolution into the formal cha-kaiseki meal and describes its influence on the modern Japanese concept of food. The following section outlines regional variations in cuisine and sketches the typical Japanese home cook pantry. Whether one is just discovering Japanese food or already familiar with its beauty and elegant simplicity, the book offers a vibrant sampling of recipes and ideas covering classic Japanese dishes such as Steamed Teapot Soup or the ethereal Baked Egg in Horaku Dish, a kind of soufflé, but also more adventuresome ideas such as the California-fusion–inspired Tuna Steak with Sasabi Chardonnay Sauce. Some of the chefs trained in Japan, but many have reinvented and experimented with ideas on the global stage, and they often deliver novel interpretations: marinated Daikon Salmon Kinuta Roll, monkfish Hotpot (an updated version of traditional nabé dishes such as sukiyaki), and Rolled Baby Pork Tempura with Spring Onions prepared as a hearty bar snack for Londoners. Since the course covers everything from appetizers and soups to desserts, drinks and liqueurs, the book is a wonderful introduction to all foods Japanese, but should also inspire seasoned gourmands and professionals. (Mar.)