At Blanchard's Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook

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The next best thing to actually living on an island paradise is being able to bring a bit of paradise home. Bob and Melinda Blanchard shared their own “paradise found” in their book A Trip to the Beach, the true story of the couple’s adventures as they escaped civilization to open a restaurant on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Now in At Blanchard’s Table, the couple extends the celebrated warmth and hospitality of their acclaimed restaurant, and its delicious menu, to our homes. The happy result is a cookbook ...
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The next best thing to actually living on an island paradise is being able to bring a bit of paradise home. Bob and Melinda Blanchard shared their own “paradise found” in their book A Trip to the Beach, the true story of the couple’s adventures as they escaped civilization to open a restaurant on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Now in At Blanchard’s Table, the couple extends the celebrated warmth and hospitality of their acclaimed restaurant, and its delicious menu, to our homes. The happy result is a cookbook that’s as much a pleasure to read as it is enjoyable to follow.

Writing with the same humor and charm that made their first book such a success, Bob and Melinda share recipes drawn from their New England roots, their early years in the gourmet food business, and their life in the Caribbean. At Blanchard’s Table is a delectable collection of more than 160 recipes perfect for get-togethers of family and friends, illustrated with glorious photographs that reveal how lucky they are to have homes in both Vermont and Anguilla.

Although the Blanchards’ restaurant gets rave reviews for the food, Melinda was never trained formally as a chef, so her recipes are for true homemade meals that are appealing and easy. Caribbean-influenced dishes like Calypso Chicken with Lime, Grilled Lobster Anguilla Style, and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp are complemented by New England–inspired fare such as Vermont Cheddar Soup, Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops, and Vermont Picnic Ham Baked in Dark Beer.

Sections include Casual Starters, Soups, Salads and Dressings, Seafood, Meat, Pasta, Vegetables and Sides, Desserts, and Drinks. Throughout the book, there are dozens of mini-recipes that allow people in a hurry to toss together just a couple of ingredients for a quick and tasty dish. The Blanchards also offer expert cooking tips, as well as more delightful stories about some of their favorite Anguillians.

With simple, eclectic, and flavorful recipes—along with sound cooking advice, charming anecdotes, and the same warmth that made people fall in love with A Trip to the Beach—At Blanchard’s Table is truly a pleasure to cook from and nearly as enchanting as an actual trip to the beach.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Restaurateurs Melinda and Robert Blanchard list two residences (the island of Anguilla and Norwich, Vermont), and therein lies the secret of their culinary versatility. In 2000, they charmed readers and recipe makers with A Trip to the Beach, a jaunty account of their first ten years as proprietors of a Caribbean eatery. Now, in the equally lively At Blanchard's Table, they offer more than 200 sensational recipes culled from New England and West Indian sources. Whether your tastes favor Jamaican Jerk Shrimp and Coconut Curried Chicken or Vermont Picnic Ham Baked in Dark Beer, the Blanchards can set your table, too.
From the Publisher
Blanchard’s was just about the first Caribbean Island restaurant I ever dined at without saying afterward, “That was really good—for a Caribbean restaurant.” Bob and Melinda’s place is good for anywhere. The welcome is warm, the ingredients fresh, and the flavors are at once sophisticated and accessible. I’d want their cookbook just for the desserts, and would turn the page right to the White Chocolate and Apricot Bread Pudding—a dish I order seconds of whenever I’m at Blanchard’s.
—Danny Meyer, coauthor, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe

Any two people who have managed to combine lives that are as richly lived in places as different as Vermont and Anguilla have my attention! The recipes that Bob and Melinda Blanchard offer here are very tempting and very doable. Some are true Vermont, some are true Caribbean, but occasionally ingredients merge, just as the book includes photographs of Jersey cows and New England farmers’ markets alongside island boats and beaches. Somehow it all works, and I think it’s because of the heart that the Blanchards give to all the worlds they’ve lived in.
—Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

What a delicious story! At Blanchard’s Table is honest home cooking with stylish flair and a great tropical background. These wonderful recipes obviously come from Melinda’s love for cooking, and the pictures of Bob and Melinda’s restaurant give the food a true sense of place. I’m glad they’ve shared their paradise with us.
—Allen Susser, chef/owner of Chef Allen’s and author of Allen Susser’s New World Cuisine and Cookery

Publishers Weekly
Peppering their volume of straightforward recipes with amusing stories and photographs of the goings-on at both their eponymous restaurant in the Caribbean and their life in Vermont ("we commute"), the Blanchards present a down-to-earth, personal cookbook that makes a nice follow up to A Trip to the Beach, which chronicled their experiences opening Blanchard's Restaurant on the tiny island of Anguilla. The recipes here, which represent no particular cuisine, are simple, homemade dishes from self-taught chef Blanchard and her staff at the restaurant, and will delight hungry palates and cooks who are interested in straightforward but pleasing recipes for friends and family alike. Half of the cookbook is devoted to colorful, casual starters and soups, and tasty salads and dressings with a zesty twist. Starters such as Crusty Grilled Shrimp with Soy-Sesame Sauce and Blanchard's Lobster Cakes with Tomato Tartar Sauce (popular with restaurant customers), and salads and dressings such as Spicy Vegetable Slaw and Potato Salad with Lime and Sun-Dried Tomatoes are all easy to prepare. Main dishes include seafood, meat and pasta dishes, from Coconut Curried Chicken to Vermont Picnic Ham Baked in Dark Beer to Calypso Chicken with Lime. The authors also include "In a Hurry" recipes to turn to when time is short supply, and the culinary tips from devoted workers of the restaurant make this charming volume practical as well. 50 full-color and 15 b&w photographs. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After developing several specialty food businesses, the Blanchards decided to get away from it all and open a restaurant on the small Caribbean island of Anguilla. They chronicled their adventures on their way to the now-successful Blanchard's Restaurant in A Trip to the Beach, which included descriptions of favorite dishes; here they provide the recipes. Though she lacks formal training, Melinda has always been the chef. She serves up the same sort of casual food that she likes to prepare for entertaining, adapting the recipes as necessary for the restaurant and the Caribbean lifestyle: Chicken and Green Bean Salad with Olive Dressing, B.L.T. Fusilli, and Grilled Salmon in Corn Cream. The recipes are uncomplicated, and most chapters also include ideas for dishes "In a Hurry." The authors have a nice style, and there are color photographs of the local scenery, along with dozens of snapshots of the loyal restaurant staff. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609610824
  • Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 3/25/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 212,339
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob & Melinda Blanchard
Married for nearly thirty years, Melinda and Robert Blanchard divide their time between Norwich, Vermont, where they built their own home, and Anguilla, where they operate Blanchard’s Restaurant. They are the authors of A Trip to the Beach.


Mainly because they've worked hard to achieve their good fortune, Bob and Melinda Blanchard are that rare couple that is easy to envy but impossible to resent. Proprietors of Blanchard's Restaurant (est. 1994), the most popular dining establishment in the Caribbean hideaway of Anguilla, these transplanted Vermonters first came to international attention with their nonfiction bestseller A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean (2000) -- a humorous, highly personal account of their adventures as struggling restaurateurs. With its freewheeling blend of personal anecdotes and savory recipes, the book struck a chord with legions of readers, and the Blanchards found themselves much in demand as lecturers, television guests, and life coaches.

In 2003, the couple released At Blanchard's Table, a cookbook filled with stories and recipes from their New England roots and their life in the Caribbean. Two years later, they scored a double hit with the self-explanatory manifesto Live What You Love and a culinary companion (Cook What You Love); and in the face of the 2008 recession, they released the practical how-to, Changing Your Course: The 5-Step Guide to Getting the Life You Want.

These days, the Blanchards juggle two lives. They continue to run their successful restaurant business in Anguilla, and they manage a booming cottage industry of linked services and products, specializing in practical change agency and dedicated to the proposition that we all deserve to live our dreams.

Good To Know

The Blanchards adoptive home of Anguilla is a haven for celebrities anxious to escape the spotlight. They have served stars like Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, and Liam Neeson at Blanchard's Restaurant.

Some fun facts from our interview with the Blanchards:

"We can each easily eat an entire pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream in one sitting."

"Some of Bob's favorite moments are spent on his John Deere tractor, mowing the field at our house in Vermont. Anyone who visits us and shows even the teeniest amount of interest gets an automatic ride on the John Deere."

"As ironic as it may sound, we unwind by going to New York. Living in Anguilla and Vermont is wonderful, but it's always fun to enjoy the contrast of the hustle and bustle of a great city."

"More than anything else, we love to design things. Could be a restaurant, a house, a store, or something as simple as a greeting card. Sounds like work to some, but it's fun to us."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2010

    Delicious Recipes

    This cookbook is filled with delicious recipes and gorgeous photography! I'm not a cook and have found most of the recipes easy-to-make and quite tasty. The recipes are all used at Blanchards, Bob & Melinda Blanchard's restaurant in Anguilla.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2005

    A real standout

    I am an avid cookbook reader. I check them out from the library by the dozens and pour through them like novels. Yes, I sometimes even cook. This is the only cookbook I liked well enough to actually purchase. The recipes are orginal, fresh and creative, but at the same time practical and simple enough not to intimidate a basic cook like myself. Please believe me when I tell you their recipe for cornbread is absolutely amazing. On second thought, don't believe me, try it for yourself and impress your friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    Anticipating arrival of the book....

    The recent issue of MORE magazine featured the Blanchards and printed 3 of the recipes from the cookbook. I made Calypso Chicken with Lime last night and my husband and I were knocked out! Absolutely delicious! Weary of stuffy recipes with glossy photos that look good in other books but come up short in taste, I think lack of formal culinary training may actually be a real PLUS, at least in this case! I can't wait for the arrival of this book so I can try other Blanchard's fare!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    This is a must have

    This is the best cookbook out there. Since I've been to Anguilla, I can definitely relate to it too. You don't have to have visited Anguilla to appreciate it though. This is a definite 'must have' in every kitchen. We haven't stopped making things out of it since we purchased. Love it all! Keep up the great work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2009

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