Welcome to October’s Observer Food Monthly

‘Even though I left my scientific career a while back, that process of thinking hasn’t gone away,” says Nik Sharma, in his dazzling new book The Flavor Equation. This is a book I have been eagerly awaiting. He gives you the science, plenty of it, both detailed and fascinating, but in a personal, easily digestible form. The recipes are a masterwork in thoughtful and original seasoning, stunningly photographed by Nik himself. (He had me at roast cauliflower and turmeric kefir.) In this issue, we chat with one America’s most exciting food writers.

Further south we meet Sandor Katz, whose revolutionary book The Art of Fermentation took us much, much further than the safe harbour of “krauts, kimchi and kombucha”. We meet the man who insists fermentation is fact not fad, and we have an extract from his new book.

It takes a certain courage to open a restaurant when you have no previous experience in a professional kitchen, but it made sense to Fenella Renwick and Kirsty Scobie. They opened the Seafood Shack in Ullapool, on the north-west coast of Scotland, because they both enjoyed cooking and their partners are both fishermen. They take fish and shellfish from the boats daily and can have it on the table within a matter of hours. Everyone it seems is heading for the Highlands right now, but they also have a loyal local following. We have some recipes from them including a creamy crab linguine and a fish finger sandwich with minty pea puree.

Our cover star, Nadiya Hussain, tells Rebecca Nicholson why it took her so long to get round to a baking series; James Rebanks, known to his many Instagram followers as @herdyshepherd1, is the subject of this month’s Life on a Plate and we have our regular columnists, Jay and Rachel, too.