Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Review of The Chef & I by Móna Wise

I'm one of those people that always likes to know a little bit more about someone's life. I'm interested in finding out about their background and what has brought them to where they are today. I'm a talker but also I really like to listen. I think it's partly just in my nature, as I come from a very chatty brood and as the youngest member of the clan my childhood was spent more with ageing relatives drinking tea than amongst my peers in a playground. I also worked as a nurse for many years and good conversational skills are essential, when dealing with people at their most vulnerable. I enjoyed my job and I appreciated the people I met along the way. So my chatty and inquisitive ways could stem from a combination of raring and career choice or maybe I'm just plain nosey, but people from all different walks in life really interest me. I feel the same way about the authors of books I choose to read. When picking a book I always flick to the back page to have a read about who has actually written this book. The two or three lines are never enough for me so I will normally google the writer, to find out a little more. As peculiar as it may sound, I almost need to like something about the author to like the book and am completely disappointed if I see an interview, or indeed meet them, only to find they are not as admiring as I had anticipated. In the case of my latest read, The Chef & I - A Nourishing Narrative, I had previously had a couple of encounters with the author, Móna Wise, so the question as to whether or not I would like who was behind this book was already covered. As a friendly and amicable lady, Móna is certainly someone that I could get along with easily, but also we have some similarities; she is a busy mother to four with a huge passion for feeding her family well, she is also a keen gardener and has plenty of poultry in the back garden. Upon chatting with this lady it's clear that she really has excellent conversational skills. Móna writes a hugely successful blog {Wise Words} and only recently herself and her husband Ron became the new food writers with The Sunday Times. Amongst all these commitments this lady manages to attend college, where she is studying for her degree in creative writing. A project as part of this course was to write this book which she then, quite rightly, decided to self publish to share with a greater audience. Mona's a very knowledgeable lady and with an ability to tell a tale with lots of gusto, this book is a great celebration of  Mona's story telling skills.  


This is a book with a difference as it's divided into two parts; first part is autobiographical and the second part is dedicated to Ron's recipes. The first seventy five pages certainly satisfied my need to know a little more about the author. This along with a large selection of recipes really make it my sort of read. The first part of the book gives a wonderful  introduction to Móna and Ron's life together. How they met and all that goes with it. Móna opens her heart to the reader and doesn't shy away from sharing the bad days as well as the good. Marriage and parenthood can sometimes be a little rocky and it's refreshing to read an accurate and honest account of normal family life. It's a touching tale that mostly made me laugh but there were parts of the book that were also terribly sad. I certainly don't feel it is necessary to already know Móna or Ron as their story unfolds beautifully and within a few pages of the book one would feel like they are already very familiar with the Wise family. This is an admirable love story about a girl who very much loved a man from the first moment she set eyes on him and sixteen years on this love is still as strong. I enjoyed every page of this story as Móna delivered her tale with not only heart and emotion but also with a lot of wit.  


The second part of the book is home to Ron's unique, interesting and very enticing recipes. Ron is a trained chef and currently works as a gourmet baker in Morton’s of Salthil, however his recipes couldn't be described as over complicated and are surely delivered very much with the home chef in mind.The recipes are divided into Sauces, Snacks, Soups & Sides, Bigger Eats and Sweet Treats. When trying to choose which recipe to cook first, the one that caught my eye was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and by gosh did I choose a good one. This chicken was so deliciously moist and tasty that all at the table were chanting for more. The next dish I want to make is 'Grandma's Chocolate Nutty Pie', as with many of the included recipes it's the sentiment of the introduction that had me hooked. The photography on Móna's blog is always stunning and the book is no different; the photographs are very beautiful and recognisably homely. This is a fabulous book and I'm very much looking forward to the next two editions. 

Competition Time
Móna has very kindly offered me a copy of The Chef & I to give to one of my readers. Móna will personalise it and post it anywhere in the world, so everyone is in with a chance. To be in the draw for winning this beautiful book simply leave a comment below. I will then pop all the names in a hat and the winner will be chosen next Wednesday 11th July. Best of luck!

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Chef and I: A Nourishing Narrative by Móna Wise it is available to purchase from www.kennys.ie and is €25.00. It is also available for the kindle here.


This competition is now over. Thank you to all who entered. All names were put in a hat and the winner is....Carolanne. Congratulations! 

34 comments:

Peggy said...

This book sounds fabulous, a ice refreshing change from cookbooks! Great giveaway

Peggy said...

This book sounds fabulous, nice and refreshing book! Great giveaway!

Moya McAllister said...

I've followed Mona's journey on twitter - I'd love to see the result!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Great post and giveaway Nessa! I just discovered Mona recently, and the book sound fascinating. I love love love your photos here, they look like they could have come from the book!

WiseMóna said...

Nessa...
You have made me cry. This is just so beautifully done.
Thank you so so much.
Móna xx

Nessa Robins said...

Peggy, Moya and Sue ye will love the book.
Wow1 Thank you Móna! I am so delighted that you enjoyed the review. I really hoped that I could do it justice.

RedEyeDream said...

Mona sounds like a very interesting person, i would love to read her story :)

Kristin said...

Móna's book is still at the top of my must-buy list - though books have taken a bit of a back seat due to our recent car troubles (hello, new engine!). I'd love to win a copy, especially after reading all the rave reviews of it.

Nicola Bishop said...

This sounds interesting, I'd live to be in with a chance of winning to read more! From @bishop_nic

Magda said...

I would love to read Mona's book

Paul said...

would like to add this to my cookbook library

Catherine said...

Morons an old favourite of mine so delighted to hear of the publication first on Nessas website. At Christmas I ordered three Christmas hampers as gifts and the quality of the delicious products made me very popular for the rest of the year! Whenever I'm in Salthill its always a spot to make, to pick up not just a guilty pleasure of the tasty pastries but also hearty foods and traditional Irish scones. It's a great giveaway!

Pat Murphy said...

Loved this. The review was like a story in itself. Would love to win a copy of Mona's book and also looking forward to following your blog. Pat

Marie McKenna said...

Reading Nessa's review makes me want to win Nessa's book. That would be just great.

Irishbaker said...

Would love to win the book!

Adrienne said...

Such a lovely review Nessa with beautiful photos as always. Would love to be in with the chance to win Mona's book! :)

Marion said...

sounds like a great book. I'd love to win this.

Carolanne said...

Oh wow Nessa, your write up of Mona's book is so beautiful. It sounds like such a fascinating story and that buttermilk chicken looks gorgeous, I'm not surprised your little ones were demanding more!

Jojo Hendro said...

Ah this book sounds really sweet!
I'm an "inquisitive" type myself ;) and the recipes look lovely too! Love the look of that chicken ;)

Lisa | Mama.ie said...

Would love to win this! Reading cookbooks is a guilty pleasure of mine, especially cookbooks that share a little bit of the author, as well as the recipes. And it sounds like this book does just that.

Anonymous said...

I'm intrigued by the buttermilk chicken & I'm always wondering what to do with leftover buttermilk after baking brown bread. Great giveaway

Noreen said...

Trying to cook and bake more at home, need new recipes! Would love this book...

Jo said...

I'm intrigued by the Buttermilk Chicken - I'm always wondering what to do with leftover buttermilk after baking brown bread. I'd love to win these wise words

bloglocal.ie said...

Fascinating stuff and the food sounds lovely too! Put my name in the pot please!
Marie Therese

Eileen said...

I tend to read cookbooks like a regular book so this one is right up my alley!

Fiona Dillon said...

What a lovely review Nessa - and a great giveaway!

lorweld said...

I've followed Monas journey on her blog & am dying to read this book. Lovely review :)

Caroline@Bibliocook said...

I've really enjoyed Mona's blog - looking forward to reading the book.

Michelle said...

I've been following both yours and Mona's blog for a while now and would love a copy of her book.

Take care
Michelle
(Canada)

Eco Evolution said...

Wow! what an amazing review of Mona's book. Fantastic to see a cookbook where you actually get to know the person behind the great recipes. Definitely a must have after reading this fantastic blog Nessa. I have been following Mona for some time now on twitter, FB and of course I just love her blog.

Delighted to have

Nairamk said...

Pick me! Pick me! ;)

Dana said...

I would love this book to cook from it for my family :D

Niall Hayes said...

Looks yum

Niall Hayes said...

Looks yum

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