Susina Jooste reviews Lessons with Liam

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Lessons with Liam
Liam Tomlin
Publisher: Human & Rousseau (Pty) Ltd
ISBN: 9780798157292
Price: R350

 Click here to buy a copy of Lessons with Liam at





Lessons with Liam addresses the huge need for a South African recipe and technique book that can be used by the full spectrum of food enthusiasts, teachers, trainers and students in professional training kitchens. This is not your typical recipe book, but a valuable contribution to emphasise the importance of flavour development, basic preparation techniques and basic recipes. Liam focuses on doing the basics very well and his lessons in foundational culinary principles will inspire every food lover, home cook and professional student to explore the unknown territory of making stocks and advanced sauces and to understand the underlying principles of food preparation. We learn best when we understand the how and why, and students at all levels will confidently take new directions in their cooking when following the guidelines and illustrations set out in this book.

Lessons with Liam is written in the South African context and all recipes are based on available local products. Existing books in this category originate mainly from the UK, USA or Europe and are often highly priced. The few books written in the South African context are often outdated or not aligned with the current food trends and the high expectations of the growing population of food enthusiasts in this country.

Good ingredients must be allied with technique and it is in this regard that the action photographs are not only inspiring but very supportive. Russell Smith really has an eye for detail. Each photo captures the essence of the end product and the appropriate technique. He deserves a special word of praise for capturing the step-by-step procedures of some of the techniques and inspirational ideas for the South African market.

Lessons with Liam is arranged in a logical and progressive sequence and addresses the main categories, from stock, soups and sauces to more advanced techniques with meats, desserts and pastry. Since cooking is not always an exact art or science, this book provides a good understanding of the basics and sets the standards of quality to which every food enthusiast or student can aspire. The recipes and techniques included in this book open up a wide range of possibilities to explore once the basics have been mastered.

This book will become a valuable support for teachers and trainers in their professional training kitchens to confirm what they are currently teaching in the new curricula. Yet it remains firmly grounded in the classical sense and does not deviate from culinary fundamentals that were taught since the time of the masters such as Careme and Escoffier.

Helped by full-colour photographs of each dish, not only teachers, trainers and learners, but also food enthusiasts will be empowered to experiment in the kitchen and to make use of the array of food items that are readily available in the local market place.

Cooking is a dynamic career and a rewarding leisure pursuit; there is always another level of perfection to be reached, another skill to be learned, another ingredient to discover. This book provides a sure platform for lessons still to be learned.

Click here to read an interview with food photographer, Russell Smith.

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