Taste Of A Traveller: Book review
Reviewed by tvnz.co.nz's Darren Bevan
When Brett McGregor won season one of MasterChef New Zealand there was a lot of expectation about what this teacher would do next - and what he'd produce for his cookbook.
Sure, he'd unveiled parts of it to the judges as the first season neared its end and mentioned it was going to be about his time travelling, but the proof of the pudding would finally come in the release.
Which is now here.
Over 245 pages later, it's safe to say Brett's book is perhaps one of the most intimately personal cookbooks I've ever set eyes on.
There are over 100 recipes, tantalisingly snapped and papped over the pages from five parts of the world; from Thailand to Spain, Morocco to Vietnam and Cambodia - as well as back here, it's fair to say these recipes cover the time Brett's spent in different countries and with different cuisines.
From the trademark Larb Gai which got him into the top 24, to kumara falafel, there's plenty for budding chefs to try. There are plenty of stand-out dishes and even if not every single one of them has a picture with it (perhaps a minor mistake, given you eat with your eyes), there's still enough to tantalise the taste buds.
Simply set out with ingredients and a basic method, each recipe looks easy to cook up and seems bound to become a favourite of many while in the kitchen.
But in many ways, this book is also like reading a travelogue, replete with family pictures and holiday snaps.
And it's this that helps the book stand out from the average cookbook fare.
There's a heart and passion that Brett's brought from his MasterChef dream to the page, and sharing of intimate snaps from holidays, of his wife and his son, show he's very much the everyman - and sharing some of his own pics from growing up demonstrates he's still got that Kiwi sense of humour (if not fashion).
A section dedicated to all those other Top 12 contestants and judges is also a humble and welcome addition; as well as demonstrating that the bond the 12 shared has withstood the test of time. (Again, the only downside is a lack of pictures from their recipes too - although, it's made up for by holiday snaps from the finalists).
Ultimately Taste Of A Traveller is a victory for Brett - a
triumphant entry into the world of cookbooks - and one which
reveals more about the man and his cooking than you could ever
Taste Of A Traveller, by Brett McGregor
Publisher: Random House