Monday, 18 January 2016

Book review : One Potato, Two ... : Finding The Dream - William Chase

One Potato, Two ... : Finding The Dream is the autobiography of William Chase. Yes, OK, I know, you're probably thinking who's he? But I bet you've heard of Tyrrell's Chips (you might even remember my review over Christmas for their festive offering) or Chase Vodka.

Well, he's the man behind them both. The book traces his life from early childhood to potato farmer to the set up of his Tyrrells Potato Chips business and through to his eureka moment and the creation of Chase Distillery and the award winning Chase English Potato Vodka.

In fact, my book parcel came with a second smaller tome.

Which contained no pages at all but three minitaure bottles of Chase's finest drinks instead ! - English Potato Vodka, Marmalade Vodka and Elegant Crisp Gin.

But back to the real book. In the introduction, William Chase explains how, when he first started toying with the idea of writing a book, he was told he had to pick his target audeince - did he want to write a book giving advice to budding entrepreneurs, a memoir or a collection of cocktail recipes? Well, he decided that he'd combine them all to create a celebration of entrepreneurship, Herefordshire, family and the humble spud.

It would be easy to assume that as a successful businessman, William Chase could come across as a pompous know-all but that couldn't be further from the truth. He tells it as it is and doesn't shy away from recounting his experience of bankruptcy and dark days before his phenomenal success. A bit like the potato version of Sir Alan Sugar, he's a self-made man who has built his business empire up through sheer hard work and canny risk-taking, starting on the very bottom rung of the ladder.

The relatively short texts (a few pages each) are broken up with numerous big colour photos that really get across the friendly, family-run feel of the company. Even without having any desire to start my own business, I picked up a few nuggets of interesting information - I had no idea that potato chips and crisps are created in different ways (crisps are washed in saline solution, chips aren't) so chips are naturally lower in fat.

The rags-to-riches story is only part of the appeal though, as the book also contains numerous recipes.

I was expecting potato recipes but that would be too obvious ! The first recipe is for Chase Vodka Marmalade.

As well as full page colour photos of the finished dish, there are handy step by step photos just as in a "proper" recipe book. The next recipe is for Treacle & Peanut Bread which would go rather nicely with the marmalade.

There are recipes to suit all tastes, from the rustic Rarebit & Crispy Bacon or Minestrone to more sophisticated dishes such as Asparagus Mousse with Goat's Cheese, Beetroot & Onion Caramel or Gin Truffles. There are also many cocktail recipes using Chase Gin and Vodka.

It's a great coffee table book to dip into, browsing the recipes, flicking through the photos or reading through a few paragraphs when you have a spare moment. It would appeal to both sexes and all ages and walks of life

star rating : 4/5

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Single Estate Publishing Limited (23 Oct. 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 0993430104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993430107
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm

Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.

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