One of my team mates, after watching the excellent Netflix “Chef’s Table” has recently become enamored of Ben Shewry, the chef of Melbourne’s “Attica.” I’ve been a fan of Ben Shewry’s since he first popped up on my radar, about 2008. I appreciate him not just as a chef, but for his commitment to his environment and devotion to his family. When I had the opportunity to visit with him during Cook It Raw, he was surrounded by other chefs geeking out, probably as much as myself. But rather than asking about foraging, or techniques he uses with his rotary evaporator, I complimented him on his Lucky Peach article “#1 Dad,” and his outright devotion to his family. “How do you balance it all?” I asked. “I don’t,” he replied, “but I try.”
Below is my review of his book “Origin,” (forgive the hubris of my Charleston statement) and here is the Amazon link. As a chef, this should be in your library.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A glimpse into a future way of eating., June 4, 2013
This review is from: Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry (Hardcover)
Just as with Cook it Raw this book represents, among other thing, a sea change in our way of thinking about food.
With the caveat that I am a Chef in Charleston, SC (arguably the most relevant food city in the United States right now) and that this book does indeed include recipes for “expensive” and “elitist” equipment such as rotovaps, the value of this book does not lay in its modernist slant.
Rather, it is an expression of Ben Shewry’s food, and his story as told through his food. Yes, the book does contain recipes for items specific to his Melbourne, but isn’t that what we really want anyway? If you could find muttonbird at your local Piggly Wiggly, it’d probably be the same watered down version as a winter 5X6 tomato. This is an extremely personal expression of Ben Shewry’s work, both in terms of his own history and in terms of how his cuisine has evolved.
When, after a week of dissecting this book, I finally closed the cover and walked away to digest it, I was looking at the South Carolina Lowcountry with fresh eyes, wondering which plants around me were delicious, and if I could find a way to pull that salt out of Spartina grass. Wherever you are, I am sure you will walk away looking at your surroundings with fresh eyes too.
That is the value of this book.