Top Liverpool chef publishes first book

Graphic designer-turned award-winning Liverpool chef Dave Critchley offers mouth-watering recipes and a fascinating insight into Chinese culinary arts in his first book. Tony McDonough reports

Dave Critchley
Lu Ban executive chef director, Dave Critchley, with his first book, Cherry Blossom


Chef Dave Critchley has helped create one of Liverpool’s best restaurants and now he offers delicious recipes and explains his dedication to Chinese culinary arts in his first book.

Dave, who previously worked as a graphic designer, is executive chef director at Lu Ban in the city’s Baltic Triangle. In March Lu Ban was named as the Restaurant of the Year in the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2022.

Now his fascinating story of how he became the western world’s first and only apprentice to a Chinese Master chef, as well as 75 mouth-watering recipes, are all included in the soon-to-be-published Cherry Blossom.

Inspired by Dave’s travels and experiences in China, each recipe in the 224-page book has featured on the Lu Ban menu. In partnership with Lu Ban director and fellow chef Mike Mounfield, he delivers a wealth of appetising options across defined chapters and catering for all tastes with meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.

The book’s title  reflects its strong association with China. Each spring it coats the Far East nation in blankets of pink – filling the air and fragrance and offering a sense of new beginnings. 

Chapters include snacks, soups, dim sum, small plates, large plates, side dishes, dumplings and desserts. There is also a chapter to recreate the kitchen’s sauces and seasonings while Cherry Blossom also includes a section dedicated to Lu Ban’s cocktails.

The last apprentice of Master Wu, Dave continues to learn the culinary arts and his expanding knowledge of flavours influence the food and menu at Lu Ban. Recipes in Cherry Blossom include:

  • Five-flavour cucumber – Dave’s very first Chinese dish.
  • Jasmine smoked pork baby ribs.
  • Kung Pao Cauliflower.
  • Poached Chinese Pear and Jinhua ham.
  • Chicken wings Critchley-style.
  • Bok Choi GBM.
  • Cherry Blossom – Lu Ban’s signature dessert

Dave has played a key role in setting up various initiatives in the city of Liverpool, including Well Fed Boxes, Liverpool Independent Delivery Service and Global Scouse Day, which celebrates the city’s famous stew.


Lu Ban
Mike Mounfield, left, and Dave Critchley of Lu Ban
Lu Ban
Chicken wings – One of the dishes in Dave Critchley’s book, Cherry Blossom


More recently, his creative culinary skills have come to the wider attention of the public via the BBC’s Great British Menu, having appeared in the regional heats in Series 16 and 17.

Cherry Blossom, published by A Way With Media, is priced at £35 (plus P+P) and is available to buy online or in person from the restaurant. To celebrate the launch of the book, Dave will be hosting a special Cherry Blossom evening at Lu Ban restaurant on Thursday, June 9.

It will feature a five-course tasting menu and a signed copy of Cherry Blossom. The cost is £80 per diner, which includes a signed copy of the book, or £60 for the tasting menu only. Click here for more details.

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