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The Hunger: A Story of Food, Desire, and Ambition Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 12, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579246
  • ASIN: B003B6535M
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,644,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

"DeLucie provides an excellent balance of personal details and authentic backstage culinary tales. . . . DeLucie's is a satisfying triumph of hard work and stick-to-it-ness." (Publishers Weekly )

"Hot grease, sharp knives, infidelity, and white truffles. . . . The Hunger has all the right ingredients. John DeLucie has lived the life and now he tells the tale. The Hunger is the best memoir by a chef since Kitchen Confidential." (Jay McInerney )

"In a bowl, stir gently, one part Hard Work, two cups True Grit, and a dash of Restaurant Glamour, and you get the perfect recipe for Chef John Delucie's everyday life... I couldn't put it down." (Bobby Flay )

"It's the rare behind-the-scenes glimpses into the Waverly's clubby quarters that make this book different from other chef memoirs and their typically debauched tales." (New York Post )

"THE HUNGER entertainingly describes one of those wonderfully unlikely bizarro career arcs that can only happen in the restaurant business...A terrific first person tour of the best and worst of the back-of-the-house New York restaurant world with an all-too rare happy ending." (Anthony Bourdain )

"This dishy read is an insider's look at what it takes to stay on top of the high-pressure, high-profile culinary world and what really goes on in the kitchen." (Bon Apptit )

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." (Salman Rushdie )

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This was a fun, fast read.
Amazon Customer
Mr DeLucie tells it like it is in the world of a professional cook in the restaurant industry.
Katherine Woodcock
I picked this book up as a light read for commuting and was blown away.
EasyReader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 By Geri Donenberg on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By Camilla Barungi on May 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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 By Hailee Moore on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By Tiff B on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Blanchard on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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