(Article updated 6/14/2017)
Disclosure Statement: Big Grey Horse Media was provided The Veritas Cookbook: Cooking With Chef Tai for reviewing purposes. While this product was sent to us without charge, our opinions are honest. We thank Savory Publishing for sending us this lovely cookbook to review.
There are so many wonderful things to be said about The Veritas Cookbook: Cooking With Chef Tai. Chef Tai Lee has some truly appetizing recipes packed in this book. I can guarantee anyone could find something to like in this book. Everything just seems so decedent and over the top. The beautiful presentation of the food within the pictures only enhances the delectable recipes. This is definitely a fine dining cookbook that you would break out to make a great impression for a dinner guest. Chef Lee also includes suggested wine pairings for those who are ignorant or unsure.
Something that really touched me about this book was the background of Chef Lee. Since I love cooking, my first question is always the inspiration behind a chef. I think it was a lovely idea for Chef Lee to include this for not only his devoted fans of Veritas Wine and Bistro, but the new fans who will discover this high class cookbook. Chef Lee included a thank you page to commemorate his staff. I love seeing staff celebrated because a restaurant, especially one as high end as Veritas Wine and Bistro, cannot operate effectively without a great staff to back up the chef.
Since this is a fine dining cookbook, I would not recommend this to a beginner. There is a certain level of technique one needs to acquire before getting a handle on these recipes, especially some of the specialty ingredients. However, the writing of the preparation, or method as Chef Lee calls it, is easily understandable for a novice and above level of experience.
The biggest problem with this cook book is the lack of navigation. Part of the problem is the cookbook’s lack of index and table of contents to easily guide a cook through the book without having to flip through every page. There is also no division of sections nor any page numbers. The book is just an entire run on of recipes with no break into what category of recipes you may be entering next. The stars next to some of the ingredients have no footnote of where to find them, whether within the book or outside. I also have yet to find the recipe for the Shiitake Mushroom Demi. These are big problems because it doesn’t allow the cook to complete parts of a dish.
My overall take of this cookbook is that it’s more of a draft than a final product. With some basic editing tweaks this cookbook layout could become just as great as the recipes themselves.