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The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection Paperback – August 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
perfection in cooking and it's intriguing to say the least. it is like night and day, comparing the book to kitchen confidential by anthony bourdain where it focuses mostly on the dirt and the dysfunction that goes on. needless to say both capture many different truths about the restaurant industry. another exciting section is the fascinating behind the scenes of The French Laundry, a highly acclaimed restaurant and how the chef's personal philosophy affected the running of the restaurant.there is also a well written account of a dinner with john mariani, one of america's preeminent food writers. the author's journalistic objectivity has served the book very well especially in a field that is filled with hype.
The first essay is a telling of the events in one examination for the title of `Certified Master Chef'. The certification is carried out and bestowed by the Culinary Institute of America, often characterized as the Harvard of American cooking schools. The examination runs for more than a week when, on each day, the candidate must complete a particular task. The candidate knows the object of each task at least a day in advance, so they may at least mentally prepare for their challenge. Almost all tasks are taken from the pages of classic French cuisine, some lifted almost directly from the pages of Escoffier's books on the subject. Out of about a dozen qualifiers competing at each session, held once every six months, usually only two or three candidates pass the test and are awarded the title. The author participates in the competition under the ruse of being an inspector from a fictional qualifying organization that is verifying that the tests are worthy of an imaginary certification. In that way, the author can observe and interview all the candidates without arousing suspicion or apprehension in the candidates. Thus, this book picks up the narrative on American culinary careers at very much the same place the author left off at the end of his first culinary investigation `The Making of a Chef'.Read more ›
He then travels to two of America's finest restaurants and explores the character of the Chefs who created them. Along the way, we meet some other colorful characters and some very delightful-sounding food.
That's it in a nutshell. The reason I love this book is because it shows the heart and intensity of what I can only call the 'love of food' and the 'striving for excellence' that both of these Chefs possess. The discussion of their ingenuity in creating new dishes is very interesting as well, but it is the sheer PASSION for cooking that Michael communicates to us that kept my eyeballs glued to the pages.
I have now read both of Michael's books on this subject: The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef. I finished them both in about two weeks and my understanding of the world of cooking, not to mention my faith in the human race (how could you not love a species that is capable of such positive, again, passion??), has simply been...transformed.
Thank you, Michael.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Michael could write cereal boxes for a living (not really), but I'd read them. He is that insightful, inquisitive and bluntly cuts thru the menusha to the essence of the... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jan T
a pretty good book if it doesn't make you crazy when an author consistently describes every woman character by how appealing he finds her appearance. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Flower Pot
I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I loved the style in which it was written and cannot wait to read other books by Micahel Ruhlman.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love the author, but this is not especially interesting. Ruhlman's 20 is a great read however (and a cookbook).Published 13 months ago by Open Your Eyes
I love Ruhlman's writing, especially about food topics. His writing is thoughtful and considered, both in accounts of various topics, and in recipes. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Cissa