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Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School


Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School Cover

ISBN13: 9781416565291
ISBN10: 1416565299
Condition: Standard
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A deliciously entertaining memoir about one woman’s adventures in the student kitchens of the legendary French Culinary Institute—flavored with celebrity chefs, eccentric characters, and mouthwatering recipes

To anyone who has ever dreamed of life in a French kitchen, Katherine Darling serves up a savory dose of reality in this funny, fascinating, and altogether delightful account of her time spent slaving over a hot stove, wrestling with veal calves, and cleaning fish heads at The French Culinary Institute.

As she goes from clueless amateur to certified chef, Katherine and her quirky fellow students frequently find themselves the objects of scorn as their teachers wage psychological warfare over steaming pots of bisque. It’s a cutthroat world, and no one ever made a soufflé without breaking a few eggs—or cracking a few heads together.

Filled with delicious food lore and trivia, and including dozens of classic and original French recipes, Under the Table takes readers deep into the trenches of one of the world’s most prestigious cooking schools—and shows what really goes on behind the doors of every great restaurant kitchen.


A deliciously entertaining memoir about one woman's adventures attending the legendary French Culinary Institute.

About the Author

Katherine Darling graduated first in her class at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.  After receiving her diploma, she went on to work at Saveur magazne.  She currently lives in Manhattan. 

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chocolateandcroissants, September 26, 2010 (view all comments by chocolateandcroissants)
Katherine Darling is a young woman living in NYC in the publishing business. One day she decides that she wants to go to culinary school and hone the skills that she was introduced to in her family kitchen. She comes from a family that debates over what pies to make at Thanksgiving. I do not recollect the number but believe that there would be about 4-5 different pies served-although her family was not a fan of turkey.

At Thanksgiving she announces her big plans to her parents and grandparents to see what the reaction would be. Who would not want a chef in their home. I would love one.

Her book chronicles her experience through culinary school, from receiving her set of knives, apron and pants, through the various lesson, making stocks, dicing vegetables, cooking poultry and fish, breads and desserts onto the more sophisticated lessons.

What I truly appreciated about the books were some of the cooking techniques she shares with her readers. Simple little tricks that one may not have an appreciation for. Of course I always welcome a selection of recipes. The recipes she included are all quite simple, just a little heavy on the calories.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys cooking or wants a little insight into the lives of culinary school and the students. One of Darling's colleagues came from Michigan, having worked in the auto industry. As a twenty something year old he leaves his wife and children behind for 6 months to pursue an education in culinary school. I loved the stories of her classmates, students who were willing to try something different and take a chance.

As a first time writer, Darling has given us a true treasure. Her combination of a few recipes, six months of culinary lessons, some tales about the French chef instructors and a wonderful use of the English language has baked up a true culinary read. Readers can hear the accent of her Gallic instructors as they critique and praise the student's progress in the kitchen.

This book will stay on my shelf for the recipes and tips she has included alone.
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Product Details

Darling, Katherine
Atria Books
Regional & Ethnic - French
Personal Memoirs
Cooking and Food-French
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.27 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » French

Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School Used Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages Atria Books - English 9781416565291 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A deliciously entertaining memoir about one woman's adventures attending the legendary French Culinary Institute.
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