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The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen


by Michael Ruhlman

Review by Anthony Bourdain

Yet another impeccably researched and insightful exploration of the world of chefs from Ruhlman, one of the very very few non-chef writers who "get it". His look at previously written about subjects--and what's happened to them in the strange new world of "chef branding" and multi-unit expansion--and the terrible lure of Vegas is thoughtful and on target. Chefs who famously never open up to ordinary journalists are remarkably candid with Ruhlman.

While thoroughly entertaining for anyone interested in food, cooks and restaurants, this book should also be a standard text in Culinary schools. This is the world that well known and respected chefs who "made it" on the strength of their cooking abilities will live in the future.

My only criticism is the dismaying lack of profanity and bile. Ruhlman in person is a viciously funny bagful of venomous snakes. Had he allowed a little more of his infamous Dark Side to leak into the text I, for one, would have been happier. C'mon, Ruhlman! A chef with a SAG card?!! That should be a red flag to a bull!Kill, kill Faster Faster!!

In spite of his good natured, Cleveland-born even-handedness, another stellar performance. I plan to give out copies for Christmas.
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