Let’s get things straight, I don’t do book reviews. I don’t do restaurant reviews either (see footnote). If I am to criticise the work of others, I would first need to be better than them. If I were, it would demean me to denigrate them. If they are better at stuff or life than I am, I have no place criticising. It’s a tough position to hold. That’s why doing a review of Mastering the Art of Sous Vide by Justice Stewart is such a difficult task for me. Let me give you a bit of background on the man.
I first got to know Justice seven years ago. I was a food blog novice. Justice was likewise. However, I had advantages. I was running a marketing company inDublin, Ireland, with access to a heap of web development advice, photography hints and tips and the benefit of my own background as a commercial writer. Starting out was not such a big deal for me. Looking around the blogosphere, I came across many great bloggers and a number who really inspired me. Justice is amongst that number.
Back then, Justice was earning a living pouring concrete in his home town, the Big Apple. With a wry sense of humour, Justice calls his blog “Gourmet Deconstructed”. He used his passion for food to destress from the hard physical work that paid the bills and supported his family. But, Justice is a guy with a burning passion for food (not a passion for burning food). Over the years, Justice followed his dream, eventually giving up construction to become a full time chef. He did a stint as Sous Chef at Madison Square Gardens, has often been featured in print, regularly appeared on TV and on radio, runs his own private catering company and has just published his first cookbook.
He has been a big influence on me, probably without knowing it. His passion for self improvement and for cooking combined with an enquiring mind and a real can-do attitude are inspirational. So, when he asked me to write an impartial, balanced review of Mastering the Art of Sous Vide, I find that I can’t. The review is below. The impartiality isn’t. You gotta’ love this guy.
The book is packed chock-full of great recipes. It is really easy to navigate with clear sections. The photography and book design are beautiful, making one want to dive right in. It is very well written. I will be delving into it again and again over the coming months. It now holds a special place amongst my cookbooks. Justice brings together some wonderful, unusual and creative ingredients to produce unique and exciting dishes. Anybody, at any stage of their sous vide cooking journey should own this. In short, just buy the book. Do it now. It would probably be considered crass and overtly commercial to include a link to the book on Amazon. So, I’ll include it here.
Congratulations Justice. I’m delighted for you.
Footnote: I did write one restaurant review a couple of years ago. I described the dire food in detail. I even cooked it as it should have been cooked. Hopefully the chef involved read my post and learned from it. I didn’t name the restaurant but did pass my review to them privately. It appears to have been a waste of time. However, I suspect a public review would just have added to the general gloom. That’s not my role.