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Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 22, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After commencing a successful career running kitchens in great New York and San Francisco restaurants, Chef Shalleck takes on a summertime challenge: cooking for a superrich Italian couple aboard their yacht, Serenity. Once aboard the elegant boat, Shalleck must lend a hand wherever needed, taking his turn on the watch and becoming as skilled at furling sails as at slicing foie gras. This luxurious yacht starts the season in Antibes and calls at ports up and down the French and Italian coasts. Shalleck puts every bit of his culinary skills to the test, preparing everything from midnight snacks to dinner parties for 100 or more, all from the yacht's tiny galley. He has to satisfy the owners' uncompromising demands for elegance as well as feed the crew and cater huge shipboard parties. Shalleck's tales of cooking in heavy seas provide both high drama and low humor. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Praise for Mediterranean Summer

“Sailing the Mediterranean in summer is the stuff of dreams. And in the company of a chef who plies the bounteous markets and creates food for the gods, this is indeed a heady journey. For the reader, the luscious meals and the ports of call are seductive; for the chef, the summer aboard the luxurious yacht is also a coming-of-age experience, when hard-won accolades and daunting challenges change him into the person he wants to be. A perfect book for the vacation flight to some paradise.” —Frances Mayes

“David has captured the life of a chef in an adventurous way….You will fall in love with the exotic places, fascinating people, and old-world cuisine that is true magic.” —Cat Cora, executive chef, Bon Appétit

“Although David did not choose the typical path to becoming a chef, he gives a very honest account of the thoughts and emotions—elation, happiness, dejection, passion, and moments of inspiration—that all cooks go through. It was completely absorbing.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry

“Fast-paced, fascinating, and well-written, this wonderful adventure at sea captures David's quest for the ultimate ingredients along the Mediterranean coast, the total immersion of this young American cook in the French, and particularly, the Italian cultures and, finally, the birth of a talented chef. Bravo!” —Jacques Pépin

“Just put a chef on a yacht on the Riviera and you have a 327-page book-sized vacation….Whether he is out buying vegetables at dawn, worrying about why the fish on ice have cloudy eyes or catering to the wishes of his employers known as La Signora and Il Dottore, Mr. Shalleck (with his co-writer, Erol Munuz) tells an escapist story that comes with recipes and practically generates it’s own breeze.” — New York Times Book Review
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767920481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767920483
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Bonchek on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Great books are like great meals. Each page, like each bite, is an opportunity to savor the moment and anticipate the next. I never would have thought that a book about food could be such a page turner, but thanks to a talented chef and a talented writer, I found myself drawn into the drama unfolding above and below the deck of an Italian billionaire's yacht. The dishes described in such mouth-watering detail are both amusing ("Halibut in Crazy Water") and alluring ("Chocolate Capri Cake"). If you want to awaken your senses on an escapist adventure, treat yourself to Mediterranean Summer.
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Format: Hardcover
The authors (David Shalleck and Erol Munuz) do a terrific job of telling a page-turning, beautifully written story. I really felt I was right next to David on every step of his adventure. For those who appreciate travel, fine food, and compelling story, Mediterranean Summer offers the perfect summer read. For me, the combination of travel to some of my favorite destinations and some of my favorite cuisines is irresistible. It is a wonderful chronicle of a chef's coming of age aboard a beautiful yacht run by exacting owners. The book moves quickly and I found myself completely immersed as David moves from one challenging moment to the next. Sit back and enjoy with a strong coffee or glass of prosecco! Cheers! Mary Wright
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Format: Hardcover
This book brings you into the life of a young American, David Shalleck, who spends an idyllic (if often exasperating) summer as the chef of a sailing yacht owned by a wealthy Italian couple. The owners helicopter in, often with family and many friends in tow, and David prepares extraordinary meals for them, concocted with ingredients bought fresh from the local markets. David and his co-author Erol Munuz surround us with the appealing sights, sounds, and aromas of sailing, cooking, and the fabulous ports of the European coast. An enjoyable and memorable read.
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Format: Hardcover
Here are the totally engrossing true adventures of a young American who is engaged by a very wealthy Italian couple, to be the chef on their newly refitted luxury sailing yacht, 'Serenity'. The sounds, sights, delectable aromas and glamour of this Mediterranean summer leaps from each page. We experience with chef David,(or Daveed as la Signora the mistress of the yacht calls him when angry), the high and low moments of his very demanding job. There are laughs aplenty in this new book and plenty of material for daydreaming after the last page has been read.
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Format: Hardcover
The imagery in this book will make you feel as though you are on the yacht with David, the owners, and the crew. It's a wonderful escape to take from your everyday life. Each time I put this book down I wondered what meal the chef would create next from ingredients he foraged at the local markets. Erol and David have given us a book that truly allows the reader to take the journey of a cook becoming a chef, and more importantly, learning to cook from the heart.
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Format: Hardcover
David shalleck's "Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella" chronicled the author's summer adventure as a chef for a couple of superrich Italian on board the "Serenity" yacht. "Serenity" would sail from one city to another on the Italian and French coasts. The Italian couple would stay on their yacht during the weekends and the full month of August. It was challenging for him as the couple was extremely difficult to please and coming in as a foreign chef added another layer of difficulty. The readers were also introduced to some of the staff on board, and how they worked together to make it through to the next port.

This was a fun read as the author chronicled his experience serving and cooking for the "Serenity" owners. There were ups and downs but mostly it was a good learning experience for the young chef. I also enjoyed that the author added some personal information about himself at the beginning of the book which helped me to understand where he was coming from. In addition, it was also helpful that the author included recipes at the end of the book for his readers. Good summer read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellently written. There's the excitement of how David finds his provisions in each port. There's also the fear of whether of not a particular meal will "work" with the extremely demanding owners of the yacht. And the suspense of how a meal will be prepared (for sometimes over 100 guests!) within the confines of a yacht's galley. Then there's the thrill of some moments of real sailing ! All this along with the purely human adventure in following David's search for mastering his profession.

I particularly enjoyed the map of the journey included on the inside cover, along with the detailed maps preceding each chapter. This added the additional benefit of the adventure being a descriptive travel guide as well ! And top this all off with the included bonus 50 pages of recipes at the end. (And each of these recipes include very specific & detailed instructions for preparation.) Bravo. Bravissimo Davide.
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Format: Hardcover
David Shalleck had cooked in a number of noted American restaurants. But like any cook worth his knives, he wanted to be a chef. He needed more training, so he took a two-month gig as head chef of a London restaurant.

It was, he saw immediately, a restaurant in serious decline. But he wasn't going to be there long enough to whip it into shape --- he let it be.

Then Alice Waters --- founder of the legendary Chez Panisse restaurant and a chef who knew Shalleck --- came to dinner.

She had a terrible meal. And told Shalleck about it in detail. "Chef" means "chief," she reminded him. She left him with a question: Are you ready to be one?

Shalleck went to France for an internship in Provence. Again, he flopped. "What is in your heart, David?" the chef demanded, as she fired him. "Did you leave it at home?"

Four years of Italian apprenticeships later, David Shalleck was ready for command --- of a ship's kitchen. No ordinary ship: Serenity is a 124-foot, 150-ton schooner built in the 1930s. Its new owners --- "Il Dottore" and "La Signora" --- have just bought the boat for $5 million and spent another $3 million modernizing it. Shalleck is too discreet to give us their real names (or, for that matter, the real name of their boat), but it's clear that they are Italian billionaires who own helicopters and jets and multiple houses and have about 50 people on their personal staff. For most of the summer, they weekend on the boat; in August, they live on it. Are they exacting? Believe it.

"Mediterranean Summer" is Shalleck's account of that season cruising off France and Italy. It's not as satisfying as stepping off the chopper and onto the boat and ordering up dinner for 20 in an hour --- what is?
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