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On the Line Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653699
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 8.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A behind-the-scenes look at the famed New York restaurant Le Bernardin, this stunning and informative book takes readers into the inner sanctum, where they view firsthand the blend of science and artistry that makes this Michelin three-star eatery legendary. Chef Ripert and New York Times writer Muhlke recount the restaurants history, from its founding in 1986 by Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze, through Riperts joining the team in 1991, to the present day. This thorough guide to how the restaurant operates teaches about various kitchen stations, tools of the trade, key personnel and their duties, how new dishes are born and what its like to spend a night on the line. Great attention is also paid to the diners experience, evidenced by the restaurants 129 Cardinal Sins (from chipped glassware to servers without a sense of humor). Recipes include ultrarare charred sea scallops with smoked sea salt; pan-roasted monkfish with truffled potato foam and red wine–brandy sauce; and wild Alaskan salmon, morels and spring vegetables in a wild mushroom pot-au-feu. A huge treat for industry insiders, fans of Le Bernardin and foodies everywhere, this book is a must-have for anyone with a passion for food. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Starred Review: "A behind-the-scenes look at the famed New York restaurant Le Bernardin, this stunning and informative book takes readers into the inner sanctum, where they view firsthand the blend of science and artistry that makes this Michelin three-star eatery legendary. Chef Ripert and New York Times writer Muhlke recount the restaurant's history, from its founding in 1986 by Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze, through Ripert's joining the team in 1991, to the present day. This thorough guide to how the restaurant operates teaches about various kitchen stations, tools of the trade, key personnel and their duties, how new dishes are born and what it's like to spend a night "on the line." Great attention is also paid to the diner's experience, evidenced by the restaurant's "129 Cardinal Sins" (from chipped glassware to servers without a sense of humor). Recipes include ultrarare charred sea scallops with smoked sea salt; pan-roasted monkfish with truffled potato foam and red wine–brandy sauce; and wild Alaskan salmon, morels and spring vegetables in a wild mushroom pot-au-feu. A huge treat for industry insiders, fans of Le Bernardin and foodies everywhere, this book is a must-have for anyone with a passion for food." (Dec.) - Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Great book, well written, and truly informative.
Lee S. Mairs
For those to whom Ripert and Le Bernardin are unknown, this book provides an opportunity to discover precisely how a truly first-class restaurant functions.
rsoonsa
I love that the book doesn't read like an add for the restaurant.
P. Raphaelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By korova on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
ATTENTION: if you are a big fan of 30 Minute Meals or Semi-homemade Cooking, this is not a book for you. If you only go to chain restaurants that call each location a "store," this is not a book for you. If you're the sort of person for whom food is akin to fuel and you don't view eating as an aesthetic experience, this is not a book for you.

Who IS this book for, then?

1) Armchair chefs
Fans of inside-the-restaurant-business books, such as Kitchen Confidential (Bourdain) and The Soul of a Chef (Ruhlman), will enjoy reading about the history and personalities behind Le Bernardin. On The Line is written in a very matter of fact style though, so don't expect anything like the gonzo rants of Bourdain or the hushed and reverential tone of Ruhlman.

2) Anybody interested in how a top-end restaurant operates
Most of On The Line is devoted to an in-depth discussion of the daily operations at Le Bernardin. Comprehensive descriptions of each kitchen station, detailed run downs of how dishes are prepared during service, and a fascinating overview of the business side are highlights of the book. And unlike most books written by chefs, the focus is on the entire restaurant staff, not just the chef, which helps reinforce how running a restaurant is truly a team effort.

3) Accomplished or ambitious home cooks
While On The Line includes a selection of recipes, they are aspirational in that they are scaled down renditions of highly refined and luxurious restaurant cooking.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Kay VINE VOICE on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Because it is not simply a cookbook, there are two good reasons to buy this book. The first, because half the book contains recipes, is because you want to learn how to make some of Le Bernardin's famous dishes. The second is because you are curious how a top restaurant staff makes and serves its food. For either or both of those reasons, this is a fascinating book.

I got the book for the second reason. I love reality cooking shows like Top Chef and Hells's Kitchen for the look they provide inside the world of a restaurant chef. I always wonder what it would be like to cook at that level. After reading the book, I can see those TV programs barely scratch the surface. The reality of cooking and serving food of top restaurant quality is so much more involved and labor-intensive than I dreamed it would be.

Le Bernardin is a famous restaurant in New York City that has achieved a 4 star rating from the New York Times and a 3 star (out of 3 tops) Michelin rating. Eric Ripert is the chef and part owner. The restaurant opened while I was living in NYC, but I never ate there. From the name I guessed it was a fancy French restaurant and assumed the menu was full of classic French food (whatever that might be). In fact, the menu is almost exclusively fish and seafood and the recipes are inventive and unusual.

Most of the first half of the book is about the restaurant, starting with the history of both the restaurant and chef Ripert. The next part is about the kitchen, starting with an overview of the various cooks' roles, the kitchen layout and stations, and a glossary of "cook speak.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Phillips VINE VOICE on December 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On the Line is a difficult book to review, because it is never sure whether it wants to be a behind the scenes tell-all or a picturesque cook book. The book attempts to do both, and succeeds in many ways, but trying to do both it does not succeed at either goal.

The behind the scenes tell-all books about restaurant kitchens became really interesting when Anthony Bourdain wrote Kitchen Confidential, which he has successfully translated into a TV show and celebrity status. While on the line does not delve into the personal lives of the cooks and staff at the restaurant, we do see a lot of the behind the scenes work that is required to run a restaurant. From this perspective I would have enjoyed learning more about the economics of the restaurant business - how to create great food and still make money, how to ensure that people are aware of your restaurant and the necessary marketing involved. There wasn't as much discussion about these topics as I would have expected.

The book also contains a number of recipes for dishes served at the restaurant, many of which look exceptionally tempting. Some of these appear a bit difficult or include ingredients that might be difficult to acquire unless one lives very near a thriving seafood market. Again, the recipes fall a bit flat, although they are well presented and some of the presentation of the food and the pictures are very appealing.

After all is said and done, the behind the scenes material is interesting but does not dig deeply enough or broadly enough to be satisfying, while the recipes offer a delectable but difficult menu. I think the author would have been better served with a more conventional approach - either a tell-all or a cook book, but has tried mightly to deliver both in one book. What he has given us are two delectable appetizers that ultimately don't satisfy.
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