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Publisher's Summary

From one of our most interesting literary figures, former editor of Granta, former fiction editor at The New Yorker, acclaimed author of Among the Thugs, a sharp, funny, exuberant, close-up account of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook.

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 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Overall
  • John
  • Winsted, CT, USA
  • 06-26-06

Poor reader

I was looking forward to this listen as have enjoyed similar books (making of a chef and bourdan's books) but immediately had difficulty understanding the author. He really should have had someone else read the story. His voice is very clipped and I am sure I missed quite a lot. I am going to buy the hard copy because I did like the subject. So my rating is because of the reader, not the book itself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pale Imitation

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I've read many books @ cooking, becoming a chef and the life that comes with that choice.
The experiences he goes through just don't have the vividness we're used to in Tony Bourdain's or Ruth Reichle's books. This one is left open-ended for the next installment, but I won't be reading it.

  • Overall

Great story and listen!

I highly recommend seeing the Bill Buford interview about the book on "Charlie Rose".
Mr. Buford is a very interesting and engaging personality. I had no prior interest in cooking or chefs but after that interview, I had download this book to learn about his adventure in becoming a chef. It is fascinating and I think he does a very nice job in reading his book. About half way through the book, I just had to go out and have a gourmet Italian dinner!