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Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line Paperback – April 14, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2014: Reading Michael Gibney's Sous Chef--a debut that plays at the outer bounds of memoir--may be the closest most of us will ever come to living a day as the second-in-command at a Michelin-starred New York City restaurant. Written in the second person, it's intense and immediately devourable. Sous Chef has all the drama, disaster, and triumph people have come to expect from reality restaurant TV, but far more intimate and nuanced. On every page, Gibney turns out phrases to savor: this is kitchen writing on par with Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones & Butter. No one who’s read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential will be surprised by the more licentious elements, but the real thrills are those transcendent moments when every player is absorbed by their role, moving together to assemble a fantastic meal. In Gibney’s hands, the anonymous act of preparing and serving great food to ravenous multitudes feels authentically noble, verging on heroic. --Mari Malcolm--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Trained both as a chef and a writer, Gibney leads readers on an excursion through the preparation and service of a single Friday night’s dinner in an upscale Manhattan French restaurant. The day starts early for the kitchen staff, who inventory goods on hand; await the chef’s decision on the evening’s specials; make sure all the arrangements meet requirements for the appetizers, entrées, and desserts to be served; deal with the state of mind and body of the cooking staff; coordinate with the waiters; and ultimately get the proper dishes, properly prepared, to the proper tables at the proper time. Such coordination of disparate activities is a restaurant’s stock-in-trade, and Gibney documents how the system works and what can go wrong as the complex process moves along. Cooks don’t always have mastery of English, some show up hungover or ill, and some may not show up at all. Culinary students can learn plenty here. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
These chefs work hard. It's not just about the food, but about people on both sides of the "service." In a real sense it's not even so much about cooking as about doing something right, the best way that you can, being passionate about your work. I once read a translation of Aristotle's definition of art as "the right making of a 'thing to be made.'" And in that sense these chefs are artists.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, it turns out the the author has two fine arts degrees, BFA in painting, MFA in writing: and it's that perspective he brings to his profession, and what makes this book different, "bigger."
I enjoy cooking, but wouldn't make it in a professional kitchen. The pace alone would kill it for me.
I enjoyed it, read it quickly as an e-book, and was left about as wrung out as the narrator when the book is over.
The various other kitchen people were personalized fairly well given the limited time covered.
I know I would never have the discipline or strength or talent to execute performance on such a quality level--day in and day out. It is not inflated to say the effort and intensity highlighted in the arena of the restaurant's kitchen resembles a top-notch surgeon or maybe a fire house if you have read books in that vein.
Eye-opening--- and makes you feel the difference in the last meal you ate at local restaurant and one of this level.