Popular cookery evolves within an open-ended community around friendship, conversation, reading, taste experiences, recipes and word-of-mouth news of what’s going on in other kitchens. Today such culinary exchange is mediatised and often organised, but in the eighteenth century it generally went unrecorded. Altamiras tells us he read books and manuscripts, but he would also have talked about food with others and I wanted to acknowledge the importance of this oral culture in New Art’s modernised recipes. The best way to do so, I decided, was to invite a small group of chefs, home-cooks and food producers to contribute interpretations of the original recipes. In the end twenty-one inspirational guest cooks came up with twenty-eight of the total of 220 recipes and variations. Here, to open this section, are brief pen-portraits of the eight professional chefs who interpreted Altamiras’s recipes for the book, and their dishes.