©1997 by Michael Ruhlman; (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks
The subject mater of the audiobook, a journalist going through culinary school, is very interesting. However the narrator, as most of the other reviewers have pointed out, makes it very difficult for this audiobook to be engaging. I listen to audiobooks as I'm driving long distances to try to keep myself awake, alert, and entertained. I found myself being droned to boredom by the narrator's monotone, seeming lack of interest, and apparent lack of knowledge of the subject matter.
All the "characters" sounded the same. While many audiobook performers create different "voices" for different characters, this presenter made no effort to differentiate one character from another, which made it very difficult to keep track of who was "talking".
I was also very surprised at the careless production. Again, as other reviewers pointed out, there were awkward pauses, missed edits, and a silted pace in parts. What were the producers and editors doing the whole time, eating??
With a better narrator, this could have been a very engaging audiobook.
This is the most badly read audiobook I've ever heard. The reader is stilted, lacks feel for the material, and barely changes intonation ever.
I really enjoyed the content of the book. The reader destroyed some pretty simple names that erode my enjoyment of the book. They grate on my nerves, like his pronunciation of the word shallots. I love Ruhlman's books, this is no exception. I would prefer to read this text.
I quite enjoyed hearing all the little details that go into the making of a chef at the CIA but I don't think it is for everyone. Even if you think you are interested please listen to the preview as I had a difficult time listening to the narrator. VERY DRY, took me a couple of hours to get passed the narrators monotone emotionless voice.
I read the hardcover version of this a few years ago, and loved it. I'm enjoying listening to it, but the recording itself can be a little irritating. Would have been much better if Ruhlman himself would have recorded it. This particular narrator mispronounces words a lot, and even pronounced the same word two different ways within a few seconds. There are some strange gaps in the recording, too, which are an editing problem, not a narrating problem. This book and its author are widely respected among professionals, and I'm disappointed that more care was not taken in its presentation. Other than the mispronunciations and gaps, the narrator does a decent job and doesn't display any other annoying tendencies.
I expected to love this book, but I found myself getting really confused. It seems like it skips around a bit between subject matters, so that I'd find myself listening to a description of a teacher, and then a class not taught by that teacher, and then we'd be back to that teacher.
More annoying, though, was the narrator--this guy was horrible. The mispronounciations and awkward pauses were even worse than a previous reviewer would lead you to believe.
All in all, I didn't enjoy this book, which was really disappointing, since I was looking forward to diving into it.
As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and having read both "The Making of a Chef" and "The Soul of a Chef," I can attest to the validity of the inner-workings of the Culinary. This book is not only accurate in nearly every detail, but I had the honor of learning under many of the same Chefs talked about in the book. When I learned that I had been accepted to the Culinary, I ran out and bought a copy of this book as research. Now, after having graduated several years later, I took the opporotunity to listen to the book again, surprised at the authenticity. I encourage anyone interested in either going to culinary school or learning about what it takes to be a chef, pay close attention to this book. It will give you a delightful insight into a cloaked world, one usually covered in tomato sauce.
Back when you could actually buy books that were Kindle "text to speech" enabled, I listened to them all the time. "Doesn't the computer voice bother you?" everyone asked. It didn't, not a bit. I say this to offer proof that I have a very high tolerance for a range of narration styles.
That said, this narrator is driving me crazy. His voice is so monotonous that I have trouble telling where his sentences end and another begins. Look through his other work, you will see that he tends to narrate history books. Enough said.
I will struggle through this book based solely on my interest in the topic.
This book would be a great primer for those considering jumping in, checkbook in hand, to a culinary program. It is written about one of my favorite subjects - the culinary field and the people who chose it (I'm a personal chef). But, the narration and the story itself is plodding. I don't need to read about famous chefs and their experiences in culinary school (if they even attended culinary school)to find it interesting, but this was definitely needed "something". It was lacking spice and a reason why I should care about what the author went through in his quest for knowledge. Some stories "read" better when NOT told by the person who wrote the story. Not everyone can use their voice to simulate emotion and inflection, and just because the author lived the story and wrote the book does not qualify him to read it back to others in such a way that they would want to hear it. I really, really wish I had found this more interesting, I desperately wanted to!
Seriously. This guy reads like he's a police desk sergeant reading the crime blotter. His pacing is completely off -- he doesn't pause at the end of a sentence before he starts a new chapter, for goodness sake. He's monotone, he pronounces things oddly, and I am just agog that he can make a career out of this.
The content is interesting and in text form I would have given it at least 4 stars, but at this point I don't even know if I'm going to finish it because listening to it is alternately putting me to sleep and driving me crazy.
"Long-winded and sadly disappointing."
Much of this book focussed on the character of the teaching staff and headline processes. Sadly not the informative piece of work the title would suggest.
Personally, I found this a slog to the end with very few redeeming features.
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