The dazzling plated compositions within look to be the work of a chef at a high-end fusion restaurant. Actually, Gardiner is an attorney who moonlights as a restaurant reviewer and food and travel writer for various publications around San Diego and Baja California. He also co-hosts a podcast, The Art of Spooning, for the Specialty Produce Network. Throughout these pages, it’s clear that he loves to tinker in the kitchen, drawing inspiration from travels abroad, favorite chefs and cookbook authors such as Joyce Goldstein and Yotam Ottolenghi, and the occasional family heirloom.
While Gardiner may not keep two sets of cookware in his kitchen as more observant Jews do, he honors the primary rules that govern the Jewish diet — such as avoiding pork and shellfish, and taking care not to serve meat and dairy in the same meal — as a “matter of mindfulness,” and a “spur to creativity.”