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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Advice for any professional. Pure gold for Chefs
This essay recommends practices which an aspiring chef of haute cuisine should follow in order to succeed in this very demanding profession. Many of Boulud's recommendations are as applicable to a professional in information systems as they are to a culinary professional, but some are distinctly applicable to crafts where one works with ones hands. For example, one of the...
Published on December 7, 2003 by B. Marold

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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Letter to another age discriminator
This book had me believing. I must say, it still does. The advice is visceral. It's an invaluable guide to sharpening your focus. Daniel is a motivator and it is a true gift to be able to read through these letters. These are the conversations and the answers to the questions you want to spend an entire day asking a great chef, but whom would never have the time of...
Published on April 26, 2006 by Stefan Bowers


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Advice for any professional. Pure gold for Chefs, December 7, 2003
This essay recommends practices which an aspiring chef of haute cuisine should follow in order to succeed in this very demanding profession. Many of Boulud's recommendations are as applicable to a professional in information systems as they are to a culinary professional, but some are distinctly applicable to crafts where one works with ones hands. For example, one of the things which distinguish professional chefs from the home chef or, for that matter, from culinary journalists, is the fact that they have prepared some dishes thousands of times over, so they can judge the doneness of a cooked material by the simplest sound or feel or smell. They are so well practiced at knife skills that many kitchen aids are, for them a waste of time. So, there are some suggestions which may actually be better advice for a carpenter than they are for a statistician.
The recommendations are golden. I find nothing here which runs counter to anything else I have read about the culinary profession. Two of the most distinctive aspects are the importance of mentoring in a culinary education and the need to be prepared to give up a normal life at home. The first aspect repeats the similarity between culinary arts and other manual trades. Carpentry and plumbing still follow mentoring career paths dating back to the middle ages.
Boulud also effectively describes the difference between haute cuisine and bourgoise cuisine, a distinction in French which I have seen in no other cuisine, although I suspect there are some Japanese culinary disciplines which embody the same distinctions with their intensive discipline in knife skills and pasta making. One hallmark of haute cuisine is that it is very common to have two or more ingredients or preparations cooked separately so each is heated to just the right degree of doneness for that material. When I started cooking, this aspect always annoyed me and made me wonder why recipes weren't written more simply. This attitude shows an ignorance of or lack of respect for different ingredients.
The only objection I have to this book is it's price. A list price of $22.50 for 124 small pages is a bit much, even for the high quality of the material within. I subtracted the 35 pages of recipes in the back, as I believe many of them have appeared in some of Boulud's other books.
Otherwise, this is a must read for anyone interested in the culinary arts, especially if you have not already read widely in the literature on the subject.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Letter to another age discriminator, April 26, 2006
This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
This book had me believing. I must say, it still does. The advice is visceral. It's an invaluable guide to sharpening your focus. Daniel is a motivator and it is a true gift to be able to read through these letters. These are the conversations and the answers to the questions you want to spend an entire day asking a great chef, but whom would never have the time of day to speak to you. There is but one issue I have. The title of this book should not be Letters to Young Chef, but rather, Letters to an Adolescent/Teenager/Early 20 somethings Chef. You see, when I picked up this book I interpreted the title as being directed to someone who is either preparing to cook professionally or has been (even for some time) cooking but still feels young in regards to the knowledge they have. Then while reading Pg.85 para 1, Daniel straight up says that this is not a book for a cook who is 30. For him/her it is too late, expect in the rarest of circumstances. This is where Daniel and I disagree, and where I have now become disenchanted with having to finish the rest of the book, although of course, I will. I'm a professional cook who has been working for 4 years starting at 27 now 31. I have always pushed myself to keep up with my younger peers and in the process have realized one thing. They cannot keep up with me! And what I notice most of all, is that my age brings to the table a degree of maturity and obedience to the chef that youth just can't seem to bare. I don't work in the ultra-competitive New York scene but age has absolutely nothing to do with intention and drive. Cooking is not about age. It is about the fire of passion, will and desire to learn and grow, and Daniel completely squelches that fire out of existence with his remarks. Keep being a great Chef Daniel but don't forget that knowledge, (In this case YOURS) should never be sacrificed to age. This goes against the entire philosophy of cooking where one never stops learning and yet will never learn everything before one is dead. Though the true cook/chef at heart tries their best, naturally in vain. Somewhat like Daniels comment. Other than that, so far great book, buy it people.

Stefan Bowers
San Antonio, Tx
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42 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too old for success at age 30?, April 29, 2004
By A Customer
Chef Boulud indeed has many interesting and important points to teach the new generation of chefs. However, I am sorely disappointed by this passage..."One more requirement--you need youth. Notice these are Letters to a Young Chef, not a new chef. In other words, if you were thirty years old I would not be writing this to you, because the demands of the job and the competition out there require that you start young, as you have, as I did." (p.85) He goes on to state that there is a chef that he knew who started his career in this fifties, "But he is the exception."
How disappointing to hear that from a top chef in the US. As a career changer, I may not have started at age 14. But I do have the focus AND the dedication that is required for success in this field. Stamina and strength also comes with training and time. So to say that your chances for success in the culinary field is limited because one is thirty!--that is a pretty demoralizing and narrow-minded viewpoint.
Thirty is NOT over-the-hill to start your culinary career. Neither is forty, nor fifty. If you had the will and the heart to do it, you can find success.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over 30 Chef, August 11, 2006
This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
I came late to food (32 years of age), but I had already learned a vast amount of knowledge about food and food service, via working in my Aunt and Uncle's Restaurant in Spain. I then chose to acquire formal "Chef" qualifications, which doesn't really mean anything; at the end of the day, it's all about experience, your passion for food, and your ability to 'teach' yourself everything about food.

My other point in regards to age is the British Chef, Nico Ladenis. Here's a man, who took a year off to travel France, came back home to London, started cooking from French Cook Books, worked in his friends Greek Restaurant before opening up his own, and then 20 years later, is the first English Chef to have more than 1 Restaurant awarded with Michelin Star ratings, not to mention that he has had amazing apprentices come out of his kitchens: Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, etc.

I think I would follow passion, drive, professionalism, and love for food and kitchens any day, rather than saying it's all based on what age you come into the kitchen. When you consider that no Chef will ever learn everything about food, everyday is like the first day you walked into a Kitchen. With that attitude and conviction, you can become great! Good luck with your careers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this before going into the culinary field!, December 23, 2010
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This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
I being a foodie myself have always had dreams of going to culinary school and opening up my own place. It's supposed to be easy right? Of course it isn't, but I didn't get that clear picture in my head until I read this book. Daniel Boulud really describes his experiences and advice about this industry and it really can open up your eyes. I would suggest anyone to read this book if they even have some slight interest in professional cooking or even home cooking. It's a pretty fun read and I went through the book in one afternoon.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not only a must read for all future chefs..., October 5, 2003
By A Customer
this easy to read book is fascinating for all interested in fine cuisine, not only for aspiring chefs.
it gives a description of all the different skills needed to become a successful cook (and maybe restaurant owner), and the author makes clear that being very successful in his profession is not a miracle, but only hard work for many, many years and 100% dedication will lead to it.
this book should be mandatory reading for all future chefs so that they can fully understand what to expect, and not choose a career they later regret.
for patrons of fine restaurants it offers a fascinating insight into the intricacies of such an organization and its staff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These could have been written to my son., June 8, 2010
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This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
This book is one of my favorites of the year. My son, who is a chef in Hawaii - far away from me in Virginia - read this at the same time I did. He mentions something he learned from it almost every time we talk. It was so helpful to read the words of a master to a young, talented chef. It gave me a perspective as a parent as to how to support him in the coming years. The recipes were also great. The Chicken Grand-Mere Francine was delicious - a new edition to my repertoire!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to become a chef......, July 10, 2010
By 
Brunie Feliciano (Oceanside New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
Fascinating insight and advice to emerging chefs. Daniel Boulud, like his food and restaurants, is a brilliant artist. He is rooted in the French tradition but is equally eclectic, modern, and progressive. His insight and approach into the art of preparing and serving food is both mystical and practical.....I purchased this book for a friend who is contemplating becoming a chef. It is probably the best gift he will ever receive....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Short and Sweet, September 23, 2008
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This review is from: Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) (Paperback)
This book is fairly short, but not neccessarily a quick read. When he discusses how to make the perfect omelette, I poured over every detail and went back and re-read two more times. I was turned onto this book after eating at a couple of Daniel Boulud's NYC restaurants. He definitely knows how to produce amazing cuisine. While I'm not a chef, I love reading books related to the profession and thoroughly enjoy it as a hobby. So this book, while not really directed toward someone like me, was a great, enjoyable read with plenty of practical knowledge. My only critique is that it could have had so many more instances like the perfect omelette. I suppose that wasn't the focus of his writing here, but given the brevity of the book, there certainly was room for it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative, March 11, 2004
By 
Chris Frost (Ingalls, IN United States) - See all my reviews
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The renowned Daniel Boulud has provided us with a useful distillation of his knowledge of working in the food service industry. From getting started to working your way up, Daniel explains the basics of what you need to do to succeed in the fast-paced adrenaline-charged world of the commercial kitchen. Even if you're not interested in becoming a chef or a restaurateur, much of the information provided can be useful in your home kitchen. If you are interested in a career in cooking, this a must-read. Like Anthony Bourdain, Daniel doesn't hide or candy-coat the less pleasant aspects of the business. He lays it all out for you, rewards and sacrifices.
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Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring)
Letters to a Young Chef (Art of Mentoring) by Daniel Boulud (Paperback - March 28, 2006)
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