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Bill Buford's funny and engaging book Heat offers readers a rare glimpse behind the scenes in Mario Batali's kitchen. Who better to review the book for Amazon.com, than Anthony Bourdain, the man who first introduced readers to the wide array of lusty and colorful characters in the restaurant business? We asked Anthony Bourdain to read Heat and give us his take. We loved it. So did he. Check out his review below. --Daphne Durham
Secondly, the book is a long overdue portrait of the real Mario Batali and of the real Marco Pierre White--two complicated and brilliant chefs whose coverage in the press--while appropriately fawning--has never described them in their fully debauched, delightful glory. Buford has--for the first time--managed to explain White's peculiar--almost freakish brilliance--while humanizing a man known for terrorizing cooks, customers (and Batali). As for Mario--he is finally revealed for the Falstaffian, larger than life, mercurial, frighteningly intelligent chef/enterpreneur he really is. No small accomplishment. Other cooks, chefs, butchers, artisans and restaurant lifers are described with similar insight.
Thirdly, Heat reveals a dead-on understanding--rare among non-chef writers--of the pleasures of "making" food; the real human cost, the real requirements and the real adrenelin-rush-inducing pleasures of cranking out hundreds of high quality meals. One is left with a truly unique appreciation of not only what is truly good about food--but as importantly, who cooks--and why. I can't think of another book which takes such an unsparing, uncompromising and ultimately thrilling look at the quest for culinary excellence. Heat brims with fascinating observations on cooking, incredible characters, useful discourse and argument-ending arcania. I read my copy and immediately started reading it again. It's going right in between Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London and Zola's The Belly of Paris on my bookshelf. --Anthony Bourdain
Starred Review. Buford's book starts smartly—he first met dynamic celebrity chef Mario Batali at a dinner party at his own home, where Batali sparkled until 3 a.m.—and continues at a fast clip as he conceives the notion of becoming Batali's "kitchen slave." Buford wanted to profile Batali for the New Yorker but also wanted to learn about cooking; he would be a "journalist-tourist" in the boot camp of a "kitchen genius." His subject became an obsession, and over the next three years, he investigated a rich menu of subjects: what makes a three-star restaurant work; what it takes to be a TV food star; the techniques and history of Italian cooking, not just from library research but also from repeated trips to Italy to visit Batali's relatives. Terrific culinary writing tracks Buford's successive passions for short ribs, polenta, tortellini and then the butcher's art, Italian-style, of pig and cow. Along the way, to his own surprise, Buford found that he had become a kitchen insider. This is a wonderfully detailed and highly amusing book from the writer who once took an insider's look at English soccer hooligans in Among the Thugs. 100,000 first printing. (June 13)
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Great read. Eat at Dario's to make sense of the story. Visit Italy to understand the history, then eat in Melbourne to see the future.Published 20 days ago by Joe McGuire
Well written and a great read for foodies and Italophiles. Being both, I very much enjoyed the book and look forward to Bill Buford's next book.Published 1 month ago by Karen Scott
I bought the audio book for this title, and it pains me to have spent so much money on a title that left me angry so often. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Shannon Carty
A well written memoire of an intense profession with colorful people. Inspired me to visit Panzano in the Chianti region of Italy and have dinner at Dario Cecchini's butcher... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan C. Lombardi
Let me preface this review with a disclaimer, I am not a foodie; I am an eater. My only interest in food typically is how it tastes, not its journey from field to slaughterhouse... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Christin M. Mulligan
I loved this book. The author gets you right into the story from the gitgo. For any amateur chefs who want to know the under workings of how it is to toil in big time multi-star... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Christian Nygaard
One person's story about finding and learning almost a whole new life. He's a writer who learns to be a cook from Mario Batali and other experiences in New York and Europe.Published 3 months ago by Scott
Pure fun, and a genuine page turner. Whether he is talking about being a slave in a high end restaurant, or apprenticing with the larger than life, Dario Cecchini in Panzano, his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by MLG
brilliant writing, fun and engaging, picked it up at Anthony Bourdain's recommendation...glad I didPublished 4 months ago by Alan M. Rogers