Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks cookbook

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

Charolette Amalie Wahoo
chef Michael's "deep" flavored GLUTEN FREE Wahoo dish

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

WAhoo Charolette Amalie

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.
Now, with how much I love the topic and flavors of the cookbook, I was disappointed in the actually quality of the physical product. My favorite thing about cookbooks are the photos and this book seriously lacked in quality photos. Having a background in editing, I can’t help but look at the photo quality, the font, the layout, etc… So, I was surprised to see the low resolution and quality of photos used, even for the cover. The photos throughout the book were stretched and grainy, and looked as if they were copied and pasted from the internet. The font was too big, and made readability difficult with the use of all caps and bolded letters. My last critique is the use of QR codes throughout the book, including the cover. I understand it is effective in driving the reader to websites about where to find certain ingredients or to learn more about a dish, but there are just too many throughout the book, and they are too large and distracting. His website has beautiful food photos, if only these carried on through the book.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks Cookbook

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Chef Michael Bennett releases Third Book on 911


Michael Bennett releases his Third Book on 911.

 

            South Florida, August, 2011 ~ FoodBrats.com – announces that Michael Bennett, Cookbook Author and the Executive chef of Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale is hosting a Release Party for his Third Book on September 11th, 2011 in remembrance of 911.

                Chef Michael Bennett remembers the days after 911 as those of worry and sorrow, yet in the aftermath came new found pride in being an America. Ten years later we all have been changed by these events. Michael reminisced about such terrible loss and vowed to make his time a valued commodity. Since 911, Chef Michael Bennett taught himself the skills of writing and computer based book publishing to be able to share his passion for the food business with others.

                Since 911, Chef Michael has written and published three books on food and cooking. His love of South Florida is seen in his first two cookbooks: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks and Underneath a Cloudless Sky. His third book delves into what is like being a chef, called Culture of Cuisine, it notes the common ideals culinary ideals amid four generations of chefs boasting a New American Riviera (Miami) cookery heritage. He will have a book signing and half-price book release at Bimini Boatyard of the evening of the 911 anniversary.

                This book’s primary assertion is based upon the ideas and ideals of some of South Florida’s Top-Chefs. Very recognizable top chef names are written about in the latter chapters, while the first three chapters discuss the rudimental ideals of being a chef. Chapter one lays the groundwork for the next two chapters. Summed up in the next few sentences, Chef Michael describes life as a chef with a particular Love-affair slant; and, is a book that can be used and enjoyed by all, no matter their experience level…

 

AS ANY CHEF WILL TELL YOU, “THIS IS THE HARDEST JOB THAT I EVER LOVED.” FOR MOST CHEFS, THIS IS TRUE.  CULINARIANS ARE A SPECIAL BREED OF PEOPLE. THEY TAKE A RAW FOOD AND TRANSFORM IT INTO ART UNDER SPARTAN CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

BEING A CHEF IS AT TIMES UNSETTLING, AND SOME PEOPLE WILL NEVER KNOW THAT AS CHEFS….

  • IT IS THE TURMOIL – THAT DRIVES US.
  • IT IS THE HEAT AND THE FRUSTRATION – THAT RECHARGES US.
  • IT IS THE NEVER-ENDING, AND DAUNTING EXPECTATIONS – THAT DRIVE US TO

PERFECTION.

  • IT IS THE LACK OF SURROUNDING CULTURE – THAT MAKES US WANT TO SLICE,

WEAVE AND TIE EDIBLE WORKS OF ART INTO A MOZART-LIKE CONCERT.

  • IT IS THE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING – THAT MAKES US WANT TO EDUCATE

FURTHER.

  • IT IS THE INFINITE – THAT DRIVES US TO CALCULATED SINGULARISM.

INNOVATION ARISES WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND COUNTLESS HOURS OF EXPERIMENTATION.

 

                Chef Michael has found that the real equalizer among cookbook enthusiast is interest in the culture about cooking. Interestingly enough chapters one through four are segmented into sub chapters of thought. Michael deliberated that these similar culinary culture-based ideals were similar enough to have been categorized concurrently, yet the stand-alone thoughts should have their own sectioning. The first two chapters alone have a consequential tone that screams “this has to be a read daily” by all culinary aficionados.

               

The Use of Q.R. CODES:

                Quick Response (QR) Codes! An Internet sensation, QR codes are being used by millions of people around the world. Chef Michael’s books are produced with these revolutionary codes inlaid within the text of the pages.

                He first added QR codes to his newly revised first Gluten-free cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks. QR codes quickly establish weblinks to additional information about the topic stemming from the Internet using a smartphone. On this third book, Chef Michael uses them to enhance descriptions and show additional background information on the chefs that are featured in chapter five. Chapter six goes on to describe how the Internet’s Social Media aspects are going to help young chefs in the future.

                               

About the Author

                Formally trained in the school of hard knocks, Chef Michael has always pursued only one culinary goal, making Miami’s unique culinary ideals visible world-wide. Chef Michael Bennett has done this most convincingly through his two South Florida grounded cookbooks.

                His first two cookbooks are the result of working in numerous noteworthy South Florida and Caribbean restaurants and resorts. Ones that tout a particular South Florida vogue and he has earmarked as “Caribb-ican”.  Obviously this “Caribb-ican” culinary trajectory has hit a cord with local restaurant consumers. This culinary styling has played out well at his current post at Bimini Boatyard. It is where sales and customer counts have gone from sleepy to boisterous as they were recently featured in the New York Times – best places in Fort Lauderdale for its blustery sales increases. See link:   http://nyti.ms/hSzpNH. Chef Michael’s Boatyard Caribb-ican menu styling emerged three years ago and has segued into accolades from local magazines as: Best New Menu” in 2008 and, Chef Michael Bennett named locally as one of South Florida’s: “Top Chef” in 2009, 2010 and 2011. All the while Chef Michael Bennett boldly hones a specific culinary leadership status through print and on-line publications. 

 

About Chef Michael Bennett’s other books:               

                Chef Bennett’s first book is titled “In the Land of Pirates, Misfits and Cooks”; it is a first-hand taste of living in the Caribbean. That is also the first interactive cookbook in America. Chef Michael has based the recipes in the book upon healthy Gluten-free cooking. And to this end, he has placed QR (Quick Response) codes on the pages so the reader can quickly interact using a smart phone or web-enabled device. Chef Michael has inlaid the QR codes on the page with the recipe, so you can instantly source that hard to find Gluten-free food item used in his recipes.

                His book will energize your palate as you taste the new cookery methods and the innovative ingredients that are deliberately paired with familiar American fare. Chef Bennett takes the reader on playful culinary journeys throughout the many island Nations of the Caribbean, showing you that with a little ingenuity, you can bedazzle your taste buds by applying this tropically-inspired “Caribb-ican” cookery.

                The book’s FULL FOUR color photos highlight Bennett’s signature style of presentation: “food stacking”. Chef Bennett creates towers and food that ascends, as his recipe styling clearly characterizes “playing with food”. You will never just get food on a plate with Michael Bennett; you will get works of art. This may seem daunting to the average home cook but in true culinary tutoring style Chef Bennett explains in detail “how to play with your food”, this alone is worth having the book as you become an honorary Pirate and Cook of the Caribb-ican style of cooking. 

 

Chef Michael’s second book; “Underneath a Cloudless Sky” features mouth-watering recipes that will incite a pantry-quaking aftermath. South Florida’s five cookery heritages influenced the book’s recipe development. This full FOUR COLOR cookbook serves up an easy to read 180 plus pages of toothsome (110+) recipes and an instructional narrative about what it is like to dwell and work as a chef on the New American Riviera. This cookbook is the result of Michael’s reformulating the last two decades of South Florida’s “Florida’s Five Flags Fusion Foods” cookery components. The Five Flags citation represents his conceptual reformatting of South Florida’s five distinct cookery heritages.

 

Underneath a Cloudless Skya 180 page, 110 recipes, “Caribb-ican” stylized cookbook that is retail priced $29.95.  The Book can be bought at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and foodbrats.com.

 

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks is 120 recipes, 180 + pages ($35.95) is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon discount books seller website, as well at: www.foodbrats.com

 

Culture of Cuisine” is 140 pages ($15.95) and is available as a digital download ($2.95) or in print from Amazon.com and www.FoodBrats.com

 

 

Author substantive:
Michael Bennett is a well-known award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) South Florida chef whose clients are a Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. He earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for the 26 year-local culinary force Left Bank restaurant. Under his auspices he brought “Best of” (Zagat Survey); Four Stars (AAA) and Four Diamonds (Mobil) to the long-time three star rating. He also holds culinary affiliations with several culinary and food-related organizations. He regularly lectures on South Florida’s “Caribb-ican” cuisine. 

For more information, contact us at:

the_professional_image@yahoo.com

 

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The Professional Image – Press release

For Immediate Release.

February 8th, 2010
Contact info:
Rebekah: 305-851-3441 (locally)
Email: the_professional_image@yahoo.com

South Florida Chef Whips Up the World’s Foremost “Caribb-ican” Recipe Book.

Chef/Author Michael Bennett cooks up a special Caribbean-style cuisine and NEW COOKBOOK at Fort Lauderdale’s finest wood-grilled Seafood restaurant.


South Florida, February 7th, 2010 /Books PR News/ — When in Florida you can never run out of Seafood restaurant choices. South Florida has a highly diversified food culture where every observed and ranked restaurant boasts of their healthy seafood recipes. Chef Michael Bennett’s current menu represents an elite melange of our South Floridian pelagic-based cultures. Many current South Florida residents come from Caribbean island nations, namely; Jamaica and the Virgin Islands (which are British), Cuba and Puerto Rico (Spanish), Haiti and Martinique (French).

Chef Michael has tapped into these individual-istic cultures that have all lent their own culinary flavor to South Florida’s unique dining landscape. After returning from a four year culinary journey in the Caribbean, chef Michael Bennett utilized these culinary experiences to develop a “Caribb-ican” vibe at his current post as Executive chef.  This post, at the very popular Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, has been a launching point for his first and second cookbooks.

After two years working with this exceedingly visible South Florida cookery conception, chef Michael’s Bimini menu apprises diners which Caribbean isle each recipe is dedicated to. People can choose dishes from a French, Spanish or British Caribbean island namesake. An example of this is when chef Michael pairs the familiar Gulf Grouper with an distinctive Santo Dominican twist of mango, plantain and coconut.

When it comes to food, Miami and South Florida live up to its name as the Magic city- food magic! Chef Michael explains, “as chefs we never fail to surprise people from different walks of life with our excesses in our tropical seafood bounty. There have been different forms of Caribb-ican cuisine but, this style is the most easygoing and acceptable for a sweeping spectrum of Americans”, says chef Michael.

His new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks, is a collection of recipes from his current position at this vital local Caribbean favorite. Author Michael Bennett has compiled his best-tasting recipes from notable Caribbean dining spots where he had employed them. Chef Michael promises a gastronomical burst of cuisine for food lovers and cooking enthusiasts alike; a salute to the Caribbean ’s quintessential definition of food as a celebration of life.

About the Author
Michael Bennett is a well-known award wining (Chef of the Year-1995) South Florida chef and who’s clients are a Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. He earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for the 26 year-local culinary force Left Bank restaurant. Under his auspices he brought “Best of” (Zagat Survey), Four Stars (AAA) and Four Diamonds (Mobil) to the long-time three star rating. He is the founder and member of The Professional Image, inc. publisher for the Culinary Arts. He also holds culinary affiliations with several culinary and food-related organizations in the USA and around the world. He regularly lectures on South Florida ‘s “Caribb-ican” cuisine.

A “Caribb-ican” chef’s life is what Michael promotes in both of his books. Chef Michael’s first book “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks” and his latest book “Underneath a Cloudless Sky both feature this “Caribb-ican” recipe styling, both  being published by The Professional Image, inc.
*** We have a free PREVIEW of the book at:
http://www.freado.com/book/5448/In-the-Land-of-Misfits-Pirates-and-Cooks

Look for Chef Michael on Channel 39 where he will demostrate recipes from his new cookbooks – Thrusday March 24th, 2010- 8:30AM.

About The Professional Image, inc.

The Professional Image was founded in 1991 and as a “budding” Chef/Author services provider for chefs – and soon to be authors, has helped to publish food-related articles and books on a regional and national basis. The Professional Image is based in South Florida with outposts throughout the Caribbean. TPI provides chef/authors with direct and personal access to quick, quality orientated publication in trade paperback, custom leather-bound, and full-color formats.

For more information, please visit http://www.foodbrats.com, or
E-mail: info@foodbrats.com or call at 1-305-851-3441, to receive a free publishing estimate.

The Professional Image only publishes Cookbooks.

***

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