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Dirty Dishes: A Restaurateur's Story of Passion, Pain, and Pasta Hardcover – December 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914421
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his meandering memoir, New York restaurateur Luongo traces his American success story from a hasty, draft-dodging flight from Italy to his current position as a chef at the Upper East Side's Centolire. His rise from busboy to chef at Il Cantinori and the star-studded Sapore di Mare remains far more interesting than his descent and death sentence with a failed corporate Tuscan restaurant chain. Friedman (Breaking Back, and co-writer of several cookbooks) makes brief appearances as the writer assisting Luongo with his bad boy cooking memoir—and Luongo is shaped into both an uncompromising, confrontational chef and a person with an affection for his mother and good food. If it weren't for his uncompromising love of Italian food throughout, Luongo's reminiscences might seem bitter. He has a tendency to drop too many names and fight other celebrities' sense of entitlement. The trendsetting chef helped popularize Tuscan cooking and tells an engaging story even when he orbits outside the intense clatter of the kitchen. The book might disappoint hardcore foodies if it were not for a few incisive remarks on restaurant design, pasta portioning, how to skewer a critic—and recipes. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"You may not know the name Pino Luongo. Yet the Italian-born chef was synonymous with the high-powered New York dining scene of the '80s and '90s, his hot temper and even hotter restaurants providing endless grist for the city's gossip mill... Boldfaced names from the worlds of art, fashion and finance would follow Luongo... But beyond the stars... the most vividly etched character in the book is the grungy New York of the '80s, a place where nouvelle cuisine and crime rules. Luongo helps change that apocalyptic landscape, kick-starting not only the vogue for authentic, regional Italian cooking but the era of the emperor chef. " -- New York Post


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The story is one of success and failure and more success.
Alison D. Curry
If only he did seminar's or small classes on a regular basis, I'd be there in a heartbeat!!!
michael
I enjoyed the book so much that I started reading it again.
Cecelia C. Heer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alison D. Curry on January 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Having enjoyed many of Pino Luongo's restaurants -- Il Cantonori, Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Tuscan Square, and Centolire -- it's a delight to meet the man behind the menus. The story is one of success and failure and more success. It seems particularly timely for New Yorkers -- that someone would start with nothing (Luongo immigrated to NY from Italy without so much as a word of English) build an empire (16 restaurants at one point!) and come to realize that the simple things are life's greatest rewards. Whether you love to cook, eat or simply read --- you will enjoy this story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw Pino, with whom I was totally unfamiliar, in an interview on TV, doing a little cooking and talking about his new book, "Dirty Dishes". I bought the book based on that short talk, and was not disappointed. It is a fascinating look into the business of being a successful restaurateur, as well as a culinary philosophy. I found it difficult to put down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By michael on December 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really didn't know this book was out until I heard that one of the Top Chef contestants had named his book this as well and that friends of Pino were trying to get the Top Chef contestant to change his book title. I finally got around to buying this book for a variety of reasons. First, I'd read about Pino in Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential years ago. He sounded like someone who a book would be a good idea for. Second, to find out if this could be the mysterious Bigfoot (and he isn't). Third, the foreword by Bourdain which was very impressive coming from him.

I was not disappointed in this book at all. I was very impressed by the writing and the story about Pino, his successes and his failure in the end by over reaching when he shouldn't have. He is what he says he is, brutally honest. He doesn't hide his frustrations or his failures which makes this a very good read.

For anyone wanting to know more about the restaurant business in general and a success story turning into semi-failure (He didn't lose it all), this is a really good book. It makes me want to spend a week or two in Pino's kitchen so I can really learn how to cook pasta. If only he did seminar's or small classes on a regular basis, I'd be there in a heartbeat!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By chef agree on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A quick and informative view into the New York City restaurant scene.
Pino story is funny, heartwarming and controversial. His voice is passionate about his craft and the politics that surrounds it. He posses many questions that some Journalists have chosen to ignore over the years. Tim Zagat's phone book being one that Pino outs as a publication that is less of the people and more of the politics. His opinions are shape and as you read on you realize it's not that he does not care. You learn that his Italian upbringing is what prevents him from kissing up to frauds. As a dinner I now know why my favorite little place around the corner never gets a big mention in Zagat's but last night it was full.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott Faupel on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For those that like food and restaurants, and want to know what it takes to open and run truly great restaurants then this is a must. Pino knows what it takes to deliver great hospitality to the most demanding customers, and brings it all together in this great book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cecelia C. Heer on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pino walks through his life and shares how he came to America unable to speak English and within ten years became a successful entrepreneur. I admire him immensely. One of my favorite parts in the book is where Pino describes how he was working at an apparel store--a job that he hated immensely--and then one day, he left for lunch and never went back. I read that part several times. His writing is witty and very amusing.
Through a friend, I had the pleasure of meeting Pino in late '97. For two years my friend and I had the pleasure of dining frequently at Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Coco Opera, Coco Marina and Tuscan Square. I also dined several times at Sapore Di Mare in the Hamptons. Reading Dirty Dishes brought back all those great memories. I enjoyed the book so much that I started reading it again. My next visit will be to Centolire. I hope that Pino is there when I stop by.
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