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Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 22, 2007
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After commencing a successful career running kitchens in great New York and San Francisco restaurants, Chef Shalleck takes on a summertime challenge: cooking for a superrich Italian couple aboard their yacht, Serenity. Once aboard the elegant boat, Shalleck must lend a hand wherever needed, taking his turn on the watch and becoming as skilled at furling sails as at slicing foie gras. This luxurious yacht starts the season in Antibes and calls at ports up and down the French and Italian coasts. Shalleck puts every bit of his culinary skills to the test, preparing everything from midnight snacks to dinner parties for 100 or more, all from the yacht's tiny galley. He has to satisfy the owners' uncompromising demands for elegance as well as feed the crew and cater huge shipboard parties. Shalleck's tales of cooking in heavy seas provide both high drama and low humor. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Praise for Mediterranean Summer
“Sailing the Mediterranean in summer is the stuff of dreams. And in the company of a chef who plies the bounteous markets and creates food for the gods, this is indeed a heady journey. For the reader, the luscious meals and the ports of call are seductive; for the chef, the summer aboard the luxurious yacht is also a coming-of-age experience, when hard-won accolades and daunting challenges change him into the person he wants to be. A perfect book for the vacation flight to some paradise.” —Frances Mayes
“David has captured the life of a chef in an adventurous way….You will fall in love with the exotic places, fascinating people, and old-world cuisine that is true magic.” —Cat Cora, executive chef, Bon Appétit
“Although David did not choose the typical path to becoming a chef, he gives a very honest account of the thoughts and emotions—elation, happiness, dejection, passion, and moments of inspiration—that all cooks go through. It was completely absorbing.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
“Fast-paced, fascinating, and well-written, this wonderful adventure at sea captures David's quest for the ultimate ingredients along the Mediterranean coast, the total immersion of this young American cook in the French, and particularly, the Italian cultures and, finally, the birth of a talented chef. Bravo!” —Jacques Pépin
“Just put a chef on a yacht on the Riviera and you have a 327-page book-sized vacation….Whether he is out buying vegetables at dawn, worrying about why the fish on ice have cloudy eyes or catering to the wishes of his employers known as La Signora and Il Dottore, Mr. Shalleck (with his co-writer, Erol Munuz) tells an escapist story that comes with recipes and practically generates it’s own breeze.” — New York Times Book Review
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Top customer reviews
Although, I enjoyed this easy read on a couple of dreary cold winter days, I felt a bit bored as the chef detailed his even his most mundane days. I kept finding myself jumping ahead for a faster paced section. For this reason, I gave it 3 stars.
And I loved it Every. Single. Time. I picked it up.
It's entertaining, gripping, mouth-watering, drool-worthy; much like Kathleen Kelly is "always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are going to get together", I always wonder if David will be able to satisfy the demanding la Signora; if he'll survive the summer onboard Serenity (and what will happen if he doesn't); and how long it will take before Captain Patrick and Mate Kevin will just come to blows in the tiny fo'c'sle (or maybe in the even smaller galley).
It's a fantastic book to read in the midst of a Seattle winter, when it's cold and rainy (or at least overcast) for six months straight and I forget what the sun looks like. It's an inspiration for my next coastal Europe trip; it makes me want to take a year off and visit deep into Provence, or Florence, or someplace where they know how to really cook and I can sit at their feet, learn, and of course, taste-test.
Pick up a copy; escape for a while; and be challenged in your own cooking. You never know where it will take you.
(On a side note, check what David's up to on his website: . He's done all sorts of things since the epic summer on Serenity.)