I am not going to touch on all the recipes as I am sure other reviewers will in great detail, all I will say is that its so much more than most books and would be a fantastic read for "foodies" as well as everyday people and professional chefs alike, here are a few observations that I feel sets it apart from other publications:
Origin belongs to that breed of restaurant book, along with Peter Gilmore's Quay, Mark Best's Marque from the land of OZ to old bleighty`s Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck Cookbook, where there is no simplifying of recipes, no shortcuts or offer of alternatives for the home cook come professional chef.
"I haven't held back with the recipes," says Shewry. "I thought it was important for them to be exactly as we do them in the restaurant kitchen because it is the only way to really explain and show to people why we do the things we do, why we go to the trouble of doing things in certain ways."
Still, even if many of the recipes might appear insurmountable for the average home cook, the way they have been captured by photograph`s brings them to life on the page. Add the stories and Shewry's ability to deliver impassioned, personal arguments for sustainability and truth in labeling laws, ethical treatment of animals and responsible consumption without coming across as annoyingly preachy and you find yourself agreeing that this is a story worth staying with to the end.
Origin also reads as an entertaining how-to manual on, say, setting up that hangi (potatoes only), mustering a flock of panicked sheep (courtesy of Shewry's dad), foraging for sea lettuce and humanely butchering cattle. But for all the storytelling and philosophizing, it's a book very much about the food of Attica.
More recently, his jumping into the world of books has resulted in the moodily beautiful Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry. He claims that it's concerned with narrative as well as cooking is no idle marketing ploy. Parts of Origin read as a memoir about growing up in a close-knit family on a farm in the isolated rural north-west of New Zealand's North Island, with all the hard work, adventure and fantastic, almost fairy-tale elements that come with that particular territory.
All I can say is that the whole page devoted to apples is amazing...
Go on treat yourself to much more than a cook book..
Bought this for my husband for Christmas and ended up sitting around just reading it - the cover (soft and fleecy, very solid) is lovely and the picture stunning. Inside is not a cookbook but a manifesto, a philosophy, wrapped in wonderful pictures, recipes and food. An amazing job, by an amazing chef.