From Publishers Weekly
Your lack of experience doesn't bother me, Jurgensen's first boss in a restaurant kitchen told her. It just means... you haven't learned any bad habits yet. From that auspicious beginning, Jurgensen, pastry chef at Dressler in Brooklyn, makes a few mistakes along the way (one time, she managed to burn a hole in the bottom of a pot while trying to melt chocolate), although she steadily improves, landing jobs at several impressive Manhattan restaurants (with an interlude as a chef for Martha Stewart's TV show). In this amiable narrative, she describes various pitfalls: a hookup with one of her bosses eventually settles into a dating relationship; when they break up, it's right back to work for Jurgensen ever the professional. The edgy backstage atmosphere will be instantly familiar to fans of chef memoirs, but Jurgensen's promise of a feminine perspective to the sexist environment is barely fulfilled by the indifferent telling of a few raunchy anecdotes and her insistence that she got over it because she had no other choice. Individually, the stories are never anything less than entertaining, but when they're put together it feels like there's one more ingredient missing—an elusive something that would make a good dish great. (Apr.)
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"Great insider stuff and a valuable addition to the annals of first-person culinary history."
-Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential
"This is a personal memoir of a young chef's experience in restaurant kitchens. It is funny, interesting and - for me, as a chef and owner of a restaurant - an illuminating insight into how other kitchens work. I loved reading it and plan to give this book to all my chefs."
-Ruth Rogers, Chef Owner, The River Café, London
"Never anything less than entertaining.... In this amiable narrative, Jurgensen describes various pitfalls: a hookup with one of her bosses eventually settles into a dating relationship; when they break up, it's right back to work for Jurgensen, ever the professional. The edgy 'backstage' atmosphere will be instantly familiar to fans of chef memoirs."
"Everything you always wanted to know about working in a high-powered restaurant kitchen. She has experienced nearly everything in and out of a high-end kitchen: on-the- job romance, getting freaked out by a visit from New York Times review goddess Ruth Reichl and, of course, being privy to some brilliant food. Despite the up-and- down wackiness of the restaurant world, Jurgensen loves her lot in life, and her debut memoir reflects great affection for the professional kitchen. Jurgensen does a nice job with the female perspective in the testosterone-centric kitchen culture. She gently dishes on former part-time employer Martha Stewart, and her experience as a pastry chef puts a slightly different slant on the proceedings."
"Jurgensen's book takes readers on a culinary adventure through her rise as a pastry chef at New York's best restaurants. A quick read, this book will appeal to those interested in chef stories and what happens behind the scenes in the kitchen."