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The Hunger: A Story of Food, Desire, and Ambition [Kindle Edition]

John DeLucie , Graydon Carter
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $3.79
You Save: $10.20 (73%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

“Hot grease, sharp knives, infidelity, and white truffles….The Hunger has all the right ingredients….The best memoir by a chef since Kitchen Confidential.
—Jay McInerney


The Hunger is the page-turning memoir from John DeLucie, chef of THE celebrity hot spot restaurant in New York City, The Waverly Inn. With an introduction by Graydon Carter, legendary Editor of Vanity Fair, The Hunger is an unabashed celebration of hard work and the good life that Anthony Bourdain fans will simply eat up—a feast for foodies that author Salman Rushdie calls, “A delightful book….I recommend it to anyone interested in good food—and good stories.”

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a cooking class and a Dean & Deluca's prep gig under his belt, DeLucie left behind a comfortable finance career for the cutthroat culinary industry of 1990s New York City. Eventually, he'd become a celebrity chef with his own destination restaurant co-owned by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. Beyond talent and drive, DeLucie had the requisite outsized ego to make it in the NYC culinary scene, persevering despite the staggering number of failures (some almost immediately, and sometimes on the word of a single reviewer) he helps open. Readers may find DeLucie's self-important prologue hard to stomach, but if they're willing to humor him they'll find a genuinely good story as well as a survey of celebrity eating habits, drawn from his popular Greenwich Village restaurant The Waverly Inn (after his visit, Karl Lagerfeld sent out for "just our roasted carrots...every day for a week"). When he puts aside his ego, DeLucie provides an excellent balance of personal details and authentic backstage culinary tales. For all the name-dropping, DeLucie's is a satisfying triumph of hard work and sticktoitness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


John DeLucie has given me so much pleasure at The Waverly Inn, and now he has written this delightful book, as well! I recommend it to anyone interested in good food—and good stories.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 777 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061579297
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028MVHD2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,798 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By TSSmith
This tale of ambition, perseverance in times of adversity, and personal growth begins in the present with the author, now the successful executive chef and part owner of the Waverly Inn in New York, working his buns off yet again, manically multitasking to keep his gastronomic creations flowing, staff hopping, and A-List customers happy. How he got started in the restaurant business, what motivated him to make the "plunge", the disadvantages and challenges he had to overcome, lucky breaks, wise and not so wise moves, people he worked with and what he learned from them as well as from each previous job, and some of the prices he has had to pay on the way to building a solid reputation are all narrated next with humor, humility, honesty, and effective use of flash backs and forwards as the main storytelling device. The author paints a vivid picture of the world he lives in (yes, there's drugs, sex, booze, betrayal, and loves lost), and although accounts of the ups and downs in his life did not always have the force of an intense drama (the narration had a few dead spots here and there), I still think this first-time author did a pretty good job and I thank him for sharing many of his eye-opening experiences with us.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Personal May 14, 2009
I've been to the Waverly Inn and bought this book expecting a celebrity tell-all. I was quickly and immediately surprised to be drawn into a story about one man's change in career. Mind you, Delucie certainly dishes with great humor throughout the book, but my favorite parts were the very human stories reflecting his challenges and struggles in the food business mixed in with the glitzy Waverly chapters. I loved the stories of his mother and grandmother's influence on his career choice and his recipes. I found the tales of his wives touching and real. Between the excitement in the kitchen and his personal life, I couldn't put it down. A real 2-sitting read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a Must Read May 23, 2009
I started reading this on my flight from JFK to LAX. I was instantly cast into the kitchen, the dining, the celebrity life, the Insurance company. John has a way of telling his story, where you immediately become his teammate. You are dependent on him winning.
I got to my destination and had to meet friends, but I was sneaking my reading in the car, on the way to dinner. I loved the realness, the passion, the journey and I'm looking forward to more from John Delucie; be it books, food, more restaurants..I am a fan forever.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full and Want More! May 15, 2009
This is a great read. Well written, witty and just plain old fun. A wonderful insight on how the chef struggled through challenges of life to get to where he is now. Exemplifying how perseverance pays off!! Very nice to read about accomplishments that come to fruition without stepping on or over anyone to get there. Highly recommend this book!!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
You might want to read this book because you are a fan of the Waverly Inn, its famous owner Graydon Carter (the publisher of Vanity Fair), or its star chef - owner John DeLucie. Maybe you are interested in the celebrity gossip about the stars who eat there. Each is reason enough to dig into this entertaining book, but there is even more. When you eat at a restaurant you see the front of the house, the stage, the theater of the restaurant. DeLucie takes us backstage to see all that it takes to produce that glorious food and delightful atmosphere. And, like actual stage productions, the real characters and drama is often more backstage than on stage.

DeLucie presents his story in an interesting two voice counterpoint. He knows you are probably picking up the book more for the celebrity stories of the Waverly Inn than about his life, so he starts with that. And while the pacing isn't exactly strict, you get to read a chapter from the Waverly Inn, then a chapter or two of his biography from his childhood on. For DeLucie, food was not a calling from his youth. His father was a professional musician and he was sort of doing that too, but in his twenties he found he had talent for cooking and felt that it was a path he could take to give structure to his life and provide the basis for a working life. He didn't come to the idea of being an executive chef or an owner of a restaurant until quite late in his career.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the book was his experience in being involved in restaurants from their being built, whether they succeed or not, and what happens when they fail. I also found his descriptions of how dishes are conceived and experimented with and finally chosen for the menu (or dropped) to be worth the price of admission.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mouthwatering May 26, 2009
The inside look at the world of professional cooking mixed with blood, sweat, and tears was fantastic. I could not put it down. Delucie's book, part memior, part cookbook, part insane fairytale brought to life a story so crazy that it could only be about the life of a seasoned restaurant chef in the equally crazy city of New York. it'll leave you hungry, jealous, and revitted all at the same time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as equally impressive as as his food! May 25, 2009
By Tiff B
The fire in the chef's eyes in the cover picture perfectly captures the passion with which he writes, cooks, and lives. This isn't just any "achieve-your-dream in nyc" story, it's a "realize-your dream & make-it-happen" one. With a winning combination of ingredients: honest wit, rich diction,and impeccable narrative, John Delucie has crafted another extraordinary recipe with The Hunger.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The tough truth about making a living as a chef.
Well told, but not unique enough to stand out as one of my favorites. This is a tough way to make a living, even among the very talented.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good memoire
Mr DeLucie tells it like it is in the world of a professional cook in the restaurant industry. I want go to New York right now to eat at The Waverly Inn.
Published 8 months ago by Katherine B Woodcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the insanity that is the restaurant biz
Wow what can I say about this book but read it. Takes you through chef DeLucie's life before cooking and as he graduated to the Waverly. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Thomas M. Bourke
4.0 out of 5 stars Very real and descriptive view of life in the kitchen!
Excellent self portrayal of a mid life crisis that turns into another venture of good success. Being in the food business myself, I appreciate the pains, laughs and hard thought... Read more
Published 12 months ago by H. Wasserman
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the style in which it was written.
The book of this chef was not written as he was the best chef in the world but all he had to learn and strive for with no formal training. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Buffy
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
I picked this book up as a light read for commuting and was blown away. This engrossing and interesting look "behind the curtain" at the restaurant industry caused me to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by EasyReader
5.0 out of 5 stars True to Life
Very good - honest read, with very good restaurant insightfulness. Very good food information and one has to admire his ambition
Published 19 months ago by RITAS
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Hunger" Satisfies
"The Hunger" is an insider story of the education and rise of an Italian blue collar New York City cook. Read more
Published on October 28, 2010 by gfr1111
2.0 out of 5 stars What a sad story
This story could be one of thousands, nothing John Delucie describes in this book made me think he knew anything about food, he was just good a scapping by and using people. Read more
Published on October 1, 2010 by Cheryl
4.0 out of 5 stars A discovery - becoming a real chef in NYC is hard work
For me, the book was a page turner; I couldn't put it down. The Amazon plot description provides an excellent review of the book and its author, so I will forgo this aspect in my... Read more
Published on May 9, 2010 by Amazon Customer
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