Expanding on his James Beard Award-winning New Yorker article, Bill Buford gives us a richly evocative chronicle of his experience as "slave" to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo.
In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from "kitchen bitch" to line cook, his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters, and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria.
Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a memoir of Buford's kitchen adventure, the story of Batali's amazing rise to culinary (and extra-culinary) fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savor.
©2006 William Buford; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"Terrific culinary writing....A wonderfully detailed and highly amusing book." (Publishers Weekly)
"Buford's mastery of the stove is exceeded only by his deft handling of English prose." (Booklist)
I liked the author's tone and story and was drawn into the little known facts about professional cooks so I would consider reading another Bill Buford book.
The main character, the book centers completely on the author himself.
No, I found it a little too dry.
Amusement, I'm a foodie and so this book was right up my alley. Interest, hearing the author travel the globe for food was fastinating. Scared, it was scary to think about the author with big butcher's knives especially since he was a little clumsy.
Overall I liked the story but not the narrator.
As a career working chef I found this book to be a realistic image of the work and emotions that is the dynamic world of cooking for a living. I found the author's description of his Euro tour very entertaining. Add a star if you like food and travel...add a star if you are in the food business. Narrator had some errors in reading that broke the concentration on the story but alas he's but human as well. Not as hardcore as Anthony Bourdains first book while truthful representation was also too graphic for some readers.
This book is wonderful. If you are heavily interested in cooking, food, and respect those that dedicate their lives to producing great food...then this book is for you.
This book is just okay. It tended to move a little slowly. It is a lot of kitchen talk about the behind the scenes workings of a restaurant which is is interesting for a few hours, but not for 12 hours. It's is probably great for those who are really interested in the restaurant business or are really into food.
I very much enjoyed Buford's book and the reading was pleasant and easy to follow. I was a little puzzled at how much the book focused on Mario Batali, but I enjoyed hearing about his restaurants, his management style, and the insights into other famous chefs cooking elsewhere in the world today. Back when I started travelling, everyone ate at fairly traditional restaurants with steaks and chicken and pretty blah side dishes. Now it's a global adventure and we can eat the excellent meals to which my generation was woken up by visits to Italy, France and THailand and even countries like the UK (which was world reknowned for having the worst food in the civilized world) have sophisticated cuisines well worth trying. We even great great food in the US with origins in many different countries--thanks to all these foodies who travel and bring back great ideas and great skills.
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