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With Recipes and Reflections from America’s Leading Chefs


By Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

(Also see the Interviews with the authors:
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page)

Winner of the James Beard Book Award for Best Writing on Food. Essential reading for anyone who loves food, Becoming a Chef is an entertaining and informative insider’s guide to the chef’s profession, providing the first behind-the-scenes look into some of the most celebrated restaurant kitchens across America. Dozens of America's leading chefs — from Daniel Boulud to Emeril Lagasse to Alice Waters — share their secrets for succeeding in this most demanding of professions.
Norman Van Aken began his career as a busboy in a Holiday Inn, Alice Waters was a Montessori teacher before she opened Chez Panisse, Emeril Lagasse began as a dishwasher in a bakery, and Charlie Trotter started in a restaurant called The Ground Round. It is a long way to the top of the culinary charts, and in Becoming a Chef the first thing you learn is that the hours are long and the dues are high.

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page have created a classic. The flip side of Larousse Gastronomique, this book should be required reading for anybody who has ever considered a career as a professional chef. For those of us who are content with our day jobs, Becoming a Chef is a complete and informative look at how the best in the business got where they are today. Dornenburg and Page interviewed 60 of America's finest chefs to find out what drives them. What are their influences? How did they begin? What do they read? And what advice do they have for someone just starting out? Most of all, the book offers a candid perspective on what it takes to succeed in the top ranks of the business. From a professional standpoint, Becoming a Chef is invaluable; from an amateur's standpoint, it is simply fascinating.

Along with some sound advice and great stories, America's best chefs offer some of their favorite recipes. Andre Soltner reveals his mother's recipe for Potato Pie, and Michel Richard shares a Creme Brulée that was inspired by his first kiss. These are subtle reminders that it takes passion as well as commitment to become a chef.
--Mark O. Howerton,


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