Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen

Flap copy from ARC:
"Spiced is Dalia Jurgensen's memoir of leaving her office job and pursuing her dream of becoming a chef. On her path to earning spots in world-class New York kitchens, she reveals in witty detail the dry cakes and burnt pots of her early internships, and the secrets to holding her own in male-dominated kitchens, and divulges what life in chef whites is reall like- from the sweet to the less-than-savory. Find out what happens in the kitchen when a restaurant critic is spotted in the dining room, how great food is made, what the staff eats at 'family meal', why cooks hate waiters, and what happens after the last customer leaves."

I really enjoyed this kitchen expose, mostly because it was so very well-written. As an avid Top Chef viewer, I love learning more about the ins and outs of the restaurant world (even when it does make eating out a scary proposition). Jurgensen does an excellent job outlining the almost accidental nature of her rise to success, and her insider knowledge makes for an extremely interesting read. I read this book just after finishing Waiter Rant which made for some fun comparisons between viewpoints (chef vs waiter). Definitely an enjoyable read for restaurant voyeurs like me, though true insiders are unlikely to find anything new and exciting here. 4 strong star- a great summer read!


Gwendolyn B. said...

I thought this book was a lot of fun, too. The author is very personable, and I was really routing for her success. You're right that there may not be anything new for die-hard fans of kitchen exposes, but I really enjoyed it.

Jeane said...

I often wonder what really goes on behind the kitchen doors in restaurants. Maybe I should read this one- or will it put me off eating out for a while?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I have a friend who desperately wants to be a chef but calls it an impractical dream, and I am always trying to buy her books about people who became chefs. Which is sort of nosy I guess, but we've been friends since we were ten and I feel entitled by now. :P This sounds perfect!