Don't Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs Paperback – October 9, 2007
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
“As uplifting as it is amusing; it's a reminder that--in real life as in the kitchen--guts are as important as genius.” ―People (four stars/Critic's Pick)
“If you liked Kitchen Confidential for its frank behind-the-scenes glimpses of kitchen life, you'll love this book.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Once you've watched these masters of their universe drop a foie gras terrine into a bowl of warm chocolate sauce, restore a wedding cake accidentally covered with shards of glass, disguise a bag of dirty laundry with crème anglaise to stand in for a mound of fallen meringue--you'll realize you've probably gotten off easy.” ―Washington Post Book World
“The chefs, now stars themselves, deserve credit for having managed to endure so much misery early in their careers, from tyrannical bosses, spoiled patrons, eye-rolling waiters and thuggish busboys. The best of the essays here convey that spirit of determination, alongside the absurd theater of it all.” ―Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Kim Witherspoon is a founding partner at Inkwell Management, a literary agency based in Manhattan, and the coeditor of How I Learned to Cook. She lives with her family in North Salem, New York.
Andrew Friedman specializes in books and articles about food, restaurants, and kitchen culture. He has authored or coauthored more than a dozen cookbooks.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I think the answer/problem is in the concept itself -- the main author, Kimberly Witherspoon, is apparently the agent for at least four of these authors, so it looks to me like both of these books were a way to capitalize on the celebrity-chef craze (a lot of the "hot" restaurants cited so reverently in both books now sound either dated or completely irrelevant) and get publicity for her clients.
Also, I paid a dollar for this on Amazon and wish it had been free. I have about 70 cookbooks, go to my local library and used bookstores on a regular basis, majored in English lit and journalism, and work as a professional writer. So I usually feel like there are no "bad" books. This, however, is one of them. Haha. It's not horrible, but it's not really worth it, either. Most of the stories have no real personal weight and read like the authors managed to think of a mildly stressful situation to try to turn into a "catastrophe." A few are by excellent writers (Gabrielle Hamilton and Marcus Samuelsson) who have told similar and better stories in other books, so the ones here are mainly a rehash. Which ultimately makes this the worst kind of book/creative production: A vanity project!! (sound of thunder and lightning cracking)
I can say that having now read the second of Tamasin Day-Lewis's essays, I: 1) Probably won't pick up any of her other books unless out of curiosity, and 2) At least have a better sense of what it was like to grow up in the Day-Lewis household, and a better idea of why her brother is such a tortured "artiste" (having seen plenty of his films, imagining the two of them stuffing a hot pudding into their mouths as children is a funny, mostly down-to-earth thought).
Definitely recommend the second book over this one, although in both cases you'll need to know who the chefs are in order to have the proper "reverence" (Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, etc.) for who you're reading.
Such was the case with reading this collection of tales and ancedotes from the heavy hitters in cooking, Don't Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs is a mad, wild ride of everything that can go wrong. Whether they are disasters in a professional restaurant kitchen or on a catering job, the stories range from those that make you cringe in embarassment or sympathy, or those that make you laugh at a just reward served up to a snooty, rude customer.
There were several stories that I enjoyed immensely: Ferran Adria's tale of a shipment of lobsters that went bad for a banquet of three thousand; Mario Batali speaks of revenge on a martinet of a chef; Anthony Bourdain of a kitchen gone to hell on New Year's Eve when the chef had such a brilliant vision that it was doomed to failure; Claudia Fleming's tale of The Blob , and very nearly every tale in the book. There are stories of fights, ingredients gone haywire or AWOL, personality clashes that would make you cringe in horror.
But each one reveals something to the art of being a chef, and a good one at that. Namely, it's that the successful ones are good at the quirks of human behavior, at what it is that makes managing people to get the best out of them, of keeping your cool when everything is literally falling apart. Most have the talent of being able to laugh at the craziness of things, and able to be innovative when the circumstances warrant it. Most are able to tell their stories with both style and humor.
And all of them manage to provide a bit of insight for all of us who occansionally have the wild, mad dream of being a great chef. They're just as much cautionary tales as they are entertainment; it's become a well-known fact that most restaurants that open are going to close.
So if you are a fan of Food Channel or like to thumb through your collection of Gourmet magazine, you're probably going to like this collection. Editors Kimberly Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman do a fine job of assembling the stories, all arranged in alphabetical order by the authors, with a short little bio in the front of each one. It's a fun read, with each one taking not much more than fifteen or twenty minutes to get through.
Even those stories that were only ok were generally worthwhile if only for the glimpse behind the house to the world of professional chefs.
One detractor was that there were recurring issues that seemed to be potential conversion issues when bringing into kindle format (like maybe it was OCRed and it wasn't entirely accurate). 1s for is and that sort of thing. Not so bad that it was unreadable, but consistent enough to be noticeable.
Top international reviews
Man könnte die eine oder andere Anekdote bei einem Kochkurs zum Besten geben.
Wunderbar und kurzweilig für ein gemütliches verregnetes Wochenende.