Asian Tapas and Wild Sushi (Whitecap $19.95)
When Trevor Hooper was growing up in the Northwest Territories he'd devour recipes in cooking magazines and then head to the local Hudson's Bay outlet for groceries. If Hooper was lucky, he'd find two of the required ingredients. That taught him to improvise.
When he left the north, Hooper went to England to polish his cooking skills and met his wife Laurie. Together, they discovered a mutual passion for Japanese food. During a year in Japan, aside from making and eating sushi five days a week at sushi school, they were introduced to izakayas, the Tokyo pubs where office workers go to drown their woes with saki and beer. Inspired by the little dishes served with drinks, the couple returned to Canada and opened the Raku in Vancouver.
Hooper continues to improvise, though on a grander scale, in Asian Tapas and Wild Sushi (Whitecap $19.95), a collection of Raku's popular appetizers which juggle world flavour with Japanese aesthetics and West Coast ingredients.
The recipes are divided by season, then by geography. In the summer section, for example, salad rolls show up in Looking East as crab and avocado in coconut crepes and in Looking West as Indian candy (sweet cured salmon bellies) in buckwheat crepes. Also included are a smattering of photos, line drawings and haiku.