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The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America


by Michael Ruhlman

Journalist Michael Ruhlman talked his way into the CIA: the Culinary Institute of America, the Harvard of cooking schools. It had something to do with potatoes a grand-uncle had eaten decades earlier, how the man could remember them so well for so long, buried as they had been in the middle of an elegant meal

Ruhlman wanted to learn how to cook potatoes like that--like an art--and the CIA seemed the place to go. The fun part of this book is that we all get to go along for the ride without having to endure the trauma of cooking school.

Ever wonder what goes on in a busy kitchen, why your meal comes late or shows up poorly cooked? The temptation is to blame the waiter, but there are a world of cooks behind those swinging doors, and Ruhlman marches you right into it. It's a world where, when everything is going right, time halts and consciousness expands. And when a few things go wrong, the earth begins to wobble on its axis. Ruhlamn has the writerly skills to make the education of a chef a visceral experience.

Nobody could possibly convey what it's like behind the scenes at America's top chef's school as well as Michael Ruhlman has. Like many others, I read this book before attending the CIA. I didn't really believe that things could be as hard and exciting as he made them out to be. But after 2 of the most excrutiating/rewarding years of my life, I now look back on this book as if it were my own memoirs, he is that accurate. A wonderfully written book that will please anyone, whether you're a cook or just eat like one.
Reza Pazooki (Seattle, WA),

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