Synopses & Reviews
At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in her hometown of New York City under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne at the molecular gastronomy hotspot wd-50, then traveled to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France. From the ribald kitchen humor to fiery-tempered workers to tasks ranging from the mundane (mincing cases of shallots) to the extraordinary (cooking seafood on the line), Shockey shows us what really happens behind the scenes in haute cuisine, and includes original recipes integrating the techniques and flavors she learned along the way. With the dramatic backdrop of restaurant life, readers will be delighted by the adventures of a bright and restless young woman looking for her place in the world.
"Food writer and French Culinary Institute graduate travels the globe as an unpaid kitchen apprentice, demystifying everything from haute cuisine at Senderens in Paris to molecular gastronomy at Manhattan's wd-50. In this entertainingly snarky memoir, Shockey chronicles the diffident curiosity of a female chef determined to learn, laugh, and cook in a professional kitchen. 'Cooking in restaurants,' she writes, 'will teach you speed, precision, discipline and hard work. It's like the army: It can be tough, but you come out stronger.' Along the way, she eats dog meat in Vietnam, fixes gnocchi in Israel, and cleans crab under a black light in France. Her bosses include such celebrated chefs as Wylie Dufresne and Didier Corlou. But amid the cooking tips, gourmet foods, and exotic techniques, she is driven by a simple question: do diners prefer meals that soothe with flavor or those that surprise with technique? With an insider's perspective shaped by the differing levels of trust and responsibility she earns, Shockey makes a reliable guide, as she illuminates the human elements of friendship and fatigue within the underpaid, unglamorous, and repetitive reality that is restaurant kitchen work. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lauren Shockey is a food writer whose articles have appeared in many print and online publications including the Village Voice, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, and the Atlantic Food Channel, among many others. A graduate of The University of Chicago, Lauren also holds a diploma in classic culinary arts from The French Culinary Institute and a Master of Arts in food studies from New York University.