Synopses & Reviews
Within every fine restaurant there exist two worlds: the elegant, hushed environment of the dining room and the chaotic, explosive, high-
tension scene behind the swinging kitchen doors. The ability to create dishes that are utterly sublime and turn them out at breakneck pace while simultaneously juggling kitchen crises, coddling demanding patrons, and managing overworked staff is what defines a four-star chef.
In The Fourth Star, award-winning author Leslie Brenner goes inside those swinging doors to explore the realities behind Daniel, capturing the dramas that arise in the insular, high-pressure milieu of a world-class kitchen. New York’s food establishment had been stunned when Daniel Boulud’s newly opened flagship restaurant was awarded only three stars from the New York Times. From that moment on, it became Boulud’s unspoken mission to regain the four-star rating that he’d previously garnered during his tenure at Le Cirque and then at his own first restaurant. That he was striving to do all this on an unprecedented scale, turning out nearly four hundred meals in a few short hours of service—meals that had to be absolutely perfect every time—made this goal all the more ambitious.
Brenner paints a portrait of a remarkable French chef at a pivotal moment of his career, as Boulud relentlessly drives his staff to the peak of excellence.
The Fourth Star provides full access to every aspect of Daniel, investigating everything from the maître d’s table assignment policies to the internecine politics of advancing up the culinary ladder.
Filled with delectable, undercover details and moving personal drama, Brenner’s chronicle is an addictive read about the inner workings of a super-lative restaurant. The Fourth Star is destined to satisfy restaurant lovers, professional cooks, and armchair chefs alike.
The hushed, elegant atmosphere of a fine restaurant often conceals a stressful workplace where highly trained, underpaid staffers work long and frantic hours at the whim of a driven and creatively gifted boss. New York's Daniel is one such place. With the cooperation of Chef Boulud, Leslie Brenner spent a year at the restaurant getting to know the kitchen staff, the front of the house, and the manager's office. And she reports on it all: the maitre d' shuffling reservations when a VIP shows up unannounced, the pastry chef who gets passed over for a promotion (but gets the last laugh), even the financial arrangements that keep the restaurant's doors open.
With the cooperation of Chef Boulud, Brenner spent a year at Manhattan's Daniel restaurant getting to know the kitchen staff, the front of the house, and the manager's office. And she reports on it all from kitchen mishaps to surprise dinner guests to financial arrangements.
About the Author
James Beard Award-winner LESLIE BRENNER is the author of four previous books on wine and food. She lives in New York City.
From the Hardcover edition.